Wine Consumption Awareness
“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”
Death in the Afternoon, 1932
"In Europe we thought of wine as something as healthy and normal as food and also a great giver of happiness and well being and delight. Drinking wine was not a snobbism nor a sign of sophistication nor a cult; it was as natural as eating and to me as necessary."
A Moveable Feast, 1964
Despite these quotes written by Ernest Hemingway praising the precious beverage, and even if this online store does not sell wine and most of the articles can be bought by anyone at any age, we thought that it would be important to tell you how alcohol affects our bodies and some of the controversial health claims that are at the forefront of today’s medical research.
Currently, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people drink per day no more than two drinks for men and one for women. A drink is defined as 5 oz (148 ml) of wine, 12 oz (355 ml) of beer, or 1.5 oz (44 ml) of a distilled spirit. When alcohol is consumed, 100% is absorbed into the blood stream after it reaches the stomach and small intestine. It then flows to and becomes metabolized by the liver. The liver takes about an hour to metabolize one drink and any alcohol consumed over that amount can’t be processed and the blood becomes saturated with alcohol. While alcohol is waiting to be processed, initial effects of alcohol in the blood can be felt. Depending on your gender, weight, how much consumed, and overall health, alcohol can depress nerves in the part of the brain that controls sexual arousal and performance, memory, muscle movement, threshold for pain, inhibition, and thought processes.
Today, modern science has just begun to explore the positive effects of alcohol, specifically the moderate consumption of red wine and its prevention against coronary disease and some forms of cancer. Anti-oxidants in red wine are believed to prevent molecules known as “free-radicals” from doing cellular damage.
Lindsey Roffey, sommelier and writer at Wine Oh TV, warns us that before we begin consuming from the “red wine fountain of youth,” evidence also shows that alcohol consumption can have negative effects. Scientists recommend that if you don’t drink, don’t start in hopes of curing life’s maladies. Certain medical conditions can be worsened by consumption, especially if there is a family of history of alcoholism, cancer, or other health problems. Alcohol has always been widely known to be a leading cause of cirrhosis, high blood pressure, and elevated triglyceride levels. It also affects migraine sufferers who often find that headaches (ref. to article on wine hangover below) get worse with red wine. Because of red wine’s prolonged contact with the grape skins, the accumulation of histamines and tannins is much greater, and this can trigger a migraine. Weight gain is also another powerful reminder of alcohol’s nasty side effect with some drinks clocking in at close to 200 calories! In this past year, research has shown that alcohol increases estrogen levels in women. Increased estrogen levels in woman who are at a high risk for developing breast cancer are more prone to developing tumors when drinking alcohol.
Studies on another compound found in red grapes, resveratrol, have suggested that it can boost the immune system, block cancer formation, and protect against heart disease. There have been suggestions that resveratrol prolongs life and has shown to dilate the small blood vessels in the heart and prevent clotting, as well as balance cholesterol and prevent against the formation of protein in the arteries of the heart. Wine has also been studied on the elderly and their moderate consumption. There is promising research that it prevents or postpones Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Other studies have found that moderate drinking of wine reduces the risk of peptic ulcers, lowers the likelihood of developing diabetes and stroke, and even cures the common cold! In opposition, intake of spirits increased ulcer risk.
Luckily, research and the advancement in medical science will certainly keep us up-to-date. WINESTOREE want to practice and preach drinking in moderation and our recommendation is to know yourself, your body, and drink responsibly!
Image: Itamar Gilboa, sculptor
If you want to find out more:
- USA: CDC website on Alcohol and Public Health Home Page and PDF on Excessive Alcohol Use inforgraphic
- Canada: Niveau de consommation d'alcool à faible risque
Mexico ranks as the tenth largest per capita alcohol consumption in Latin America, according to a report released May 12, 2014 by the World Health Organization (WHO). Latin America is the second region with the highest consumption of alcohol; the ranking of the region is led by Chile, where there is an annual per capita (apc) consumption of 9.6 liters of pure alcohol. Argentina 9.3 liters apc; Venezuela 8.9 liters apc; Paraguay 8.8; Brazil 8.7; Peru 8.1; Panama 8; Uruguay 7.6; Ecuador 7.2; Mexico 7.2; Dominican Republic 6.9; Colombia 6.2; Bolivia 5.9; Costa Rica 5.4; Cuba 5.2; Nicaragua 5; Honduras 4; Guatemala 3.8; El Salvador 3.2.
The type of alcohol consumed in Latin America: beer (53%); 32.6% followed by spirits and 11.7% of wine.
- France: Alcohol consumption has been declining in the las 40 years in France, it was halved between 1960 and 2009. Today, about 7% of adults never drink and 15% drink every day (including 23 % men and 8% women). The wine remains by far the most consumed beverage Institut National pour la Santé et la Recherche Médicale - Alcool et Santé
- UK: Drinkaware.co.uk Understand your drinking - Facts and Figures
- Wine hangover article
- Health Resolutions from the "Organization Internationale du Vin et de la Vigne"