Wine Health & Science Blog

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If you live on a calorie restricted diet, where you consume about half the normal calories, you may live a lot longer. You probably won't enjoy life, but you'll live. What if you could achieve the same effect by drinking red wine? Perhaps you can, in which case you might be able to enjoy the extra life you'd get!

Read more: Can Red Wine Help You Live Longer?

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Does drinking a bit of wine have good or negative health consequences? Scientific studies have produced mixed results. One of the latest indicates that drinking wine increases breast cancer rates. The increase isn't huge, but even drinking small amounts of wine is linked with some increase and that's enough to warrant concern.

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Dr. Marinette Streppel led a team of researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands to study the long-term effects of alcohol consumption on men's health. What they found is that light consumption of alcohol provides about two extra years of life while light consumption of wine provides yet another three years of life, for a total of five years.

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Does Wine Fight Cavities?
Clean Teeth
Photo © greefus gone fishin
 
Not long ago I wrote about how {ln:wine-stain-teeth 'wine may stain teeth}, and disturbingly by etching tooth enamel through the acids in the wine, thus making future stains from other substances all the easier. That's not the final word on the effects of wine on dental health, though, because there is interesting evidence that the same acids which etch tooth enamel may also prevent tooth decay.

Gabriella Gazzani and colleagues at the faculty of pharmacy at the University of Pavia in Italy purchased basic supermarket wines (i.e., nothing special or aged) and found that they were able to limit the growth of bacteria responsible for tooth decay. Although the substances in wine responsible for controlling bacteria will work better when removed from the wine and used in concentration, people may still be able to get some of the benefits by drinking wine.

Read more: Does Wine Fight Cavities?

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Red Wine, Resveratrol on the Brain
Human Brain
Photo © Gaetan Lee

Researchers have already discovered a number of interesting health benefits from resveratrol, a chemical found in red grapes and in red wines, but new research suggests that it might also aid basic thinking, reasoning, and cognition. This is in addition to previous research finding that moderate amounts of wine every day may inhibit the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Resveratrol is a chemical which more and more medical researchers are studying because it seems to have lots of positive health benefits. Unfortunately for wine drinkers, you have to drink a lot of wine to get very much resveratrol; fortunately for everyone else, though, wine isn't the only place where natural resveratrol can be found.

Read more: Red Wine, Resveratrol on the Brain

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Wine as Medicine in Ancient Egypt
Egyptian Wine Jars, c. 1000 BCE
Photo © Rowan of Ravara

Wine has long been used as a base for medicine and for a number of very good reasons, including: it dissolves medicinal compounds better than plain water and keeps them suspended for a longer period of time, it preserves medicinal compounds, and of course the alcohol provides some anesthetic effects. Just how long has wine been used as a base for medicine, though?

No one knows for sure, but papyri dating to 1850 BCE show that the ancient Egyptians had recipes for wine mixed with herbs for treating aliments, but those recipes are sophisticated enough that they must have been products of an older history of development. Now, compelling evidence of wine mixed with herbs has been found in wine jars dating to 3150 BCE.

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So, wine stains teeth — if you drink wine, you teeth will be stained. What a surprise! Who knew? Well, there is some real news in all this because researchers have done some tests to determine just what happens between wine and teeth to figure out how teeth m,ay become stained by wine. The results aren't absolutely certain yet, but it looks interesting.

Read more: Wine Stains Teeth?

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Alcohol is a depressant. People who use alcohol report that it has a positive impact on their mood. Huh? How can a depressant make you feel better? New research has found that a small amount of alcohol — the equivalent of one or two drinks — encourages the release of endorphins. For some people, this makes alcohol addiction more likely even though the increased consumption has the opposite effect.

Read more: Alcohol Releases Endorphins

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