The French Paradox
The French Paradox  presents  presents

Optimal Amount
Wine Health
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How Much is Too Much
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RSS: Wine Health
the "French paradox" that the incidence of coronary heart disease is relatively low in southern France despite high dietary intake of saturated fats.[2]
There is a lack of medical consensus about whether moderate consumption of beer, wine, or distilled spirits has a stronger association with longevity. Of ten major studies, three found stronger evidence for wine, three for beer, three for liquor, and one study found no difference between alcoholic beverages.[10]
This article summarizes the recommended maximum intake (or 'safe limits') of alcohol as recommended by the health agencies of various governments. These recommendations are varied, reflecting scientific uncertainty. The recommendations are distinct from legal restrictions that may apply in those countries. [The recommended daily maximum is 2-3 drinks]
resveratrol Resveratrol is produced naturally by grape skins in response to fungal infection, including exposure to yeast during fermentation. As white wine has minimal contact with grape skins during this process, it generally contains lower levels of the chemical.[52
A 2007 study found that both red and white wines are effective anti-bacterial agents against strains of Streptococcus.[55]
some researchers have concluded that wine made from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape reduces the risk of Alzheimer's Disease,[60][61
Flavonoids are most commonly known for their antioxidant activity. However, it is now known that the health benefits they provide against cancer and heart disease are the result of other mechanisms.[2][3] Flavonoids have been referred to as "nature's biological response modifiers" because of strong experimental evidence of their inherent ability to modify the body's reaction to allergens, viruses, and carcinogens. They show anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory[4] , anti-microbial and anti-cancer activity.
Resveratrol is a phytoalexin produced naturally by several plants when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi. A number of beneficial health effects, such as anti-cancer, antiviral, neuroprotective, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory effects, have been reported
Melatonin any biological effects of melatonin are produced through activation of melatonin receptors,[3] while others are due to its role as a pervasive and powerful antioxidant[4] with a particular role in the protection of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.[5]
excessive consumption of alcohol can cause some diseases including cirrhosis of the liver and alcoholism.[56]

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Wine and Health Benefits


Cancer Prevention & Red wine by cardiovascular and cancer benefits of specific chemical compounds, polyphenols, found in red wines
 Wine's antioxidant assets antioxidants discussed below are still preliminary.

* Improved brain and muscle function also has been associated with moderate wine consumption .
* A number of very nasty bacteria and viruses are inactivated by wine and by grapes (but, surprisingly, in some cases not by alcohol).
* One report suggests that antioxidants may help prevent toxemia in pregnancy.
* Long noted, but unexplained, has been a disparity between the number of alcohol calories ingested and weight gain. A peek into the mystery may be offered by the recent observation that catechin polyphenols (flavonoid antioxidants, as found in wine and green tea), stimulate the "burning" of body fat.

Dr. Harvey E. Finkel


WINE: The French Paradox
The French paradox refers to the observation that the French suffer a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease, despite having a diet relatively rich in saturated fats like cheese, butter, eggs, and organ meats. Wine through history has enjoyed a healthy reputation among philosophers and medical practitioners but it was not until 1991 that the virtue of moderation trumping abstinence became a commonly accepted truth. Thus the story of wine in the 21st century can be told as a tribute to French culture.


Bacchus we thank who gave us wine
Which warms the blood within our veins;
That nectar is itself divine.
The man who drinks not, yet attains
By godly grace to human rank
Would be an angel if he drank.
--- Pierre Motin
French drinking song
God made only water, but man made wine.
--- Victor Hugo, 1856
"Clearly, the pleasures wines afford are transitory, but so are those of the ballet or of a musical performance. Wine is inspiring and adds greatly to the joy of living.”
---  Napoleon
"Wine... the intellectual part of the meal."
--- Alexandre Dumas
"I serve your Beaune to my friends, but your Volnay I keep for myself."
 --- Voltaire
If God forbade drinking, would He have made wine so good?
--- Cardinal Richeleu
[During a chase, in the Cardinal's own coach] Porthos: "For a chase, the Cardinal recommends his excellent '24 Cabernet." Porthos to D'Artagnan: "You can't have any, you're too young."
--- Porthos in the Three Musketeers
The best use of bad wine is to drive away poor relations.
--- French proverb
He who loves not wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long.
--- Martin Luther, 1777
Wine rejoices the heart of man and joy is the mother of all virtues.
--- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1771
Here's to the corkscrew - a useful key to unlock the storehouse of wit, the treasury of laughter, the front door of fellowship, and the gate of pleasant folly.
--- W.E.P. French
I don't have a drinking problem except when I can't get a drink.
---Tom Waits
Wino Forever
Johnny Depp
(The tattoo once read 'Winona Forever'!)
Mankind . . . possesses two supreme blessings. First of these is the goddess Demeter, or Earth whichever name you choose to call her by. It was she who gave to man his nourishment of grain. But after her there came the son of Semele, who matched her present by inventing liquid wine as his gift to man. For filled with that good gift, suffering mankind forgets its grief; from it comes sleep; with it oblivion of the troubles of the day. There is no other medicine for misery.
---Euripides c. 485 - 406 B.C.
The Bacchae [c. 407 B.C.], l. 274
In vino veritas [In wine is truth].
---Proverb quoted by PLATO,
Symposium 217
also attributed to Pliny the Elder)
A man not old, but mellow, like good wine,
---Stephen Phillips (1845-1915)
Ulysses, III. ii
Days of wine and roses laugh and run away,
Like a child at play.

---Johnny Mercer (1909-1976)
Days of Wine and Roses
Souls of poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
Have ye tippled drink more fine
Than mine host's Canary wine?

---John Keats (1795-1821)
Lines on the Mermaid Tavern
The wine urges me on, the bewitching wine, which sets even a wise man to singing and to laughing gently and rouses him up to dance and brings forth words which were better unspoken.
The Odyssey, bk. XIV, l. 463
Wine gives courage and makes men more apt for passion.
“A man will be eloquent if you give him good wine.”
 --- Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Twas Noah who first planted the vine and mended his morals by drinking its wine.”
--- Benjamin Franklin
There is a devil in every berry of the grape.
---The Koran [more]
Wine is the first weapon that devils use in attacking the young
---St. Jerome
"For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red."
 --- Psalms 75:8
Wine is bottled poetry.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Poetry is devil's wine.
---St. Augustine
Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake.
---The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy, 5:23
"We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy."
--- Ben Franklin
Two great European narcotics.. alcohol and Christianity.
---Friedrich Nietzsche
"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." ......... 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.
---Ernest Hemingway
Death in the Afternoon
Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter,
Sermons and soda-water the day after.

---Lord Byron
Don Juan
More wine quotes

France produces more wine than any other country, only Italy is close. It is well established now that moderate alcohol drinkers live longer than abstainers or heavy drinkers.

More than 400 studies over the past 70 years have analyzed the health benefits of drinking wine which show that moderate drinking of red wine helps prevent heart disease, cancer, and other conditions.

 The French paradox phenomenon was first noted by Irish physician Samuel Black in 1819. The term French paradox was coined by Dr. Serge Renaud, a scientist from Bordeaux University in France in 1992.

When a description of this paradox was aired in the United States on 60 Minutes in 1991 with the proposal that red wine, or alcohol, decreases the incidence of cardiac diseases. The program catalyzed a large increase in North American demand for red wines from around the world, the consumption of red wine increased 44% and some wineries began lobbying for the right to label their products as "health food".

In 1998 Renaud and colleagues from the University of Bordeaux expanded the study and reported (Epidemiology, March, 1998)  that moderate wine consumption (2-3 glasses a day) was associated with a 30% reduction in the death rate from all causes; a 35% percent reduction in death rates from cardiovascular disease; and an 18-24% reduction in death rates from cancer. “The results of the present study,” the researchers write, “appear to confirm the speculation that the so-called French Paradox is due, at least in part, to the regular consumption of wine.

Exactly how the process works is still being worked out by the researchers but one study found that the ingestion of alcohol; equivalent to two glasses of wine or three beers, with a high-fat meal resulted in a 20% decrease in the growth of arterial muscle cells. A general conclusion is that alcohol consumed with a meal may prevent blood clotting triggered by fat.

Wine’s biggest health claim is its ability to help prevent chronic heart disease. This is significant, because the single largest cause of death in developed countries is from heart attacks. Healthy people have arteries that are smooth on the inside.  Blood flows freely without obstruction. In heart disease, plaque builds up, creating a rough spot on the inside of the vessel. Your body detects this and sends platelets to the site. Platelets adhere to the rough spot, causing more obstruction. When blood supply diminishes to a dribble, then tissue death results.

Wine seems to prevent heart disease by increasing the amount of "good" cholesterol in the body. (Only the "bad" kind clogs arteries.) Wine can also lengthen the amount of time it takes your blood to clot—effectively rendering platelets less "sticky."

RED WINE for polyphenol compounds of resveratrol, melatonin and  flavonoids

The benefits of red wine appear to be linked to the presence of resveratrol, melatonin and flavinoids.

Flavinoids are thought to help protect the body from cancer because of their antioxidant properties. They help the body neutralize certain free radicals that can trigger the cellular activity that may lead to cancer. Many foods that can improve or prevent certain health conditions contain flavonoids. Think of flavonoids as "biological response modifers."

Red wine is a rich source of biologically active phytochemicals, chemicals found in plants.

 Found chiefly in grape skins, their concentrations tend to be higher in red wines (when skins are included in fermentation) than white (when skins are culled) Wine also contains a much-studied antioxidant called reservatol. Antioxidants prevent free radicals from forming, which can damage your body’s cells. But reservatol also seems to have multiple anti-cancer properties: minimizing DNA mutations that can lead to cancer, inducing cancer cells to die, and blocking the formation of new blood vessels that "feed" tumors. More studies are needed to confirm these findings, but they appear to be even more active than the more renowned antioxidant vitamins A, C and E.  

Wine contains quercitin, which is a flavonoid. Quercitin can change your body’s reaction to allergens, viruses, and carcinogens, and reduce your response to inflammation.

Melatonin — a substance present in red wine and some foods and that humans naturally produce in small amounts — is thought to delay the oxidative damage and inflammatory processes typical of old age.

High doses of the chemical resveratrol appear to mimic the effects that a 20 to 30 per cent reduction in calories in the typical diet would have. Researchers say such a diet is effective at prolonging life in many species. Several studies have suggested that resveratrol offers the best explanation of the "French paradox."

Red wine has been credited with more than keeping your heart healthy and delaying the aging process. It has also shown promising results in preventing prostate cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, leukemia and some common food-borne illnesses. In 2008 Israeli researchers announced a white wine process which would also contain the health-giving flavinoids of red wine. Israeli wine manufacturer Binyamina is now using the recipe to manufacture this healthier white wine.

What is the optimal amount of daily consumption?
So what exactly is moderate drinking of wine? How much is moderate? This being a health question, the experts seem to err on the side of caution.  Population studies have observed a J curve association between wine consumption and the risk of heart disease. This means that abstainers and heavy drinkers have an elevated risk, while moderate drinkers have a lower risk. We were unable to locate a chart illustrating the drop-off for heavy drinking but the survey of government recommended portions shows 2 to 3 drinks per day as the upper limit.

It is common now to read that for women their best bet is one 6-ounce glass (3/4 cup) of red wine per day—sipped slowly with a meal while for men, it’s two glasses per day. The lack of a discussion showing an adjustment for weight expresses the general timidness and preference for leaning to the side of caution for the health advisors working in this field.

A healthy body can metabolize a half ounce of alcohol per hour, so don’t drink too fast.  Drinking more than this can cancel out  potential health benefits. Drinking less or not at all doesn’t seem to provide the same health benefits.

"Wine improves with age. The older I get, the better I like it."
--- Anonymous
My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." 
--- John Maynard Keynes
"Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right."
 ---Mark Twain

 Drinking wine has grown in popularity—especially since 1992, when Renaud and DeLongeril presented the discovery of the "French Paradox." Although the French ate a diet high in saturated fat, their mortality rate from chronic heart disease was unexpectedly lower than other industrialized countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom. And the most striking difference between the French diet and the diets of other countries is their consumption of wine.

The beneficial effects of alcohol have been praised since the origin of drinks; it is true that the therapeutic effects might have been of value at a time when neither anesthetics nor tranquillizers existed.

Findings on wine's health benefits have led to a renewed appetite around the world for this ancient drink. From 1949 to 1998, the number of wine-producing countries has jumped from 40 to 74 and production has risen by 85 percent. Today more people than ever drink wine for health and for pleasure.


Wine though the ages
from Gaul or France
Winemaking was an established art in Egypt by 3000 BC. Kings grew two sets of vines, for funereal and domestic wines. Chinese legends from that period also speak of wine drinking.
Greeks who settled in Marseille around 600 BC taught the Gauls to make wine.
The Greeks credited the god Dionysus with the gift of wine.  The peoples of the Mediterranean began  emerged leaving barbarism for civilization when they learnt to cultivate the olive and the vine. The much adopted and exported Greek culture taught these virtues.
Many succeeding generations of artists have celebrated these virtues and France has cultivated an appreciation for these sensibilities throughout the many opposing currents and zeitgeists which succeeded in repressing this thinking elsewhere.
Under the Romans, Bordeaux, the Rhone valley and the Iberian peninsula also became well-established wine-producing regions.
In 92 AD the Emperor Domitian, threatened by competition, ordered half the Gallic vines pulled up. When restrictions were lifted in 280 BC, regions such as Burgundy and Alsace started to produce wine.
A French doctor wrote the earliest known printed book about wine around 1410 A.D.
The World Health Organization showed that France had the lowest death rate from heart disease in the industrialized western world, despite the French habits of smoking, eating fatty foods and shunning exercise. Only the Japanese, with their low-fat diet of fish and rice, had a lower rate.
Wine: Civilization's strongest ally
Health & Medicine
Ancient cultures recognized wine's virtues as a medicine and an antiseptic. A medical prescription based on wine has been found on an Egyptian papyrus.
From Homer's time until recently, wine was used to disinfect wounds. Hippocrates prescribed it as a diuretic and to calm a fever. 
Wine is a mild natural tranquilizer, serving to reduce anxiety and tension. As part of a normal diet, wine provides the body with energy, with substances that aid digestion, and with small amounts of minerals and vitamins. It can also stimulate the appetite. In addition, wine serves to restore nutritional balance, relieve tension, sedate and act as a mild euphoric agent to the convalescent and especially the aged.
Most of the pathogens that threaten humans are inhibited or killed off by the acids and alcohols in wine. Because of this, wine was considered to be a safer drink than much of the available water up until the 18th century.
Until the 20th century, hospitals and private doctors relied on wine to treat all sorts of ailments. White wines were prescribed as diuretics, red Burgundies for dyspepsia, red Bordeaux for stomach disorders, and Champagne for nausea and catarrh. Today wine is still a component in many medications.
How Much is Too Much?
Post mortem studies show that dead alcoholics have relatively "clean" arteries. But for this group, the dangers of alcohol abuse greatly outweigh any benefit from alcohol.
Abstinence, for this group is the only solution and thus discussions of the health benefits of alcohol and wine are often tempered or watered down by this need to reinforce the respect that not drinking needs to maintain for the sake of not letting others fall off the wagon.
Worldwide, drinking causes almost as much harm as smoking, according to the World Health Organization. The agency estimates that alcohol causes 1.8 million deaths around the world every year; about a third of those deaths are accidents that could have been avoided. The WHO also estimates that worldwide, alcohol causes or plays a role in 20 per cent to 30 per cent of all cases of esophageal cancer, liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, homicide, epileptic seizures and traffic accidents.

Risk of progression to problem drinking is the major health risk of moderate drinking. The main debate for the medical profession is whether the risks of problem drinking outweigh giving the advice to patients to drink moderately.

Still it would seem that the public health approach popularly known as "Just Say NO" is widely discredited and as likely to cause harm by daring in abuse the most "at risk" populations. Promoting a healthy relationship of moderation with pleasures and the occasional annual release from the tedium of habit a Carnaval celebration can add to life would appear the better approach by public health organizations.

Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.
--- Jerome K. Jerome
Three Men in a Boat
"I have enjoyed great health at a great age because everyday since I can remember, I have consumed a bottle of wine except when I have not felt well. Then I have consumed two bottles."
 ---  Bishop of Seville
Pour out the wine without restraint or stay,
Pour not by cups, but by the bellyful,
Pour out to all that wull.

---Edmund Spenser (1552?-1599)
Epithalamion, 250

“Wine is a living liquid containing no preservatives. Its life cycle comprises youth, maturity, old age, and death. When not treated with reasonable respect it will sicken and die.”
--- Julia Child
"Presenting the cork is wine nonsense, a ritual invented by captains and sommeliers. The wine snob doesn’t resent ritual. There is infinite ritual in the etiquette of serving wine. But most of it at least hints at style or purpose. Placing an unsightly cork on the tablecloth hints at absurdity."
 --- Leonard S. Bernstein