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Wine – Part of a Healthy Lifestyle

Mari Stull
By Mari Stull
Posted on Jul 28,2009
Filed Under Food And Wine , Local Tastes,

With a title like that, this article is sure to grace the door of many refrigerators this month…

As it should.  Wine is rich in antioxidants (especially red wine), raises your good cholesterol (HDL-Cholesterol), contains resveratrols (I’ll explain that one later), counters some of the ill effects of cigarette smoking, improve cognitive thinking, and may even slow down the aging process.

Good For the Soul.  Good For the Body.

Those of us who thoroughly enjoy our wine already know the restorative benefits of a glass of wine sipped after a long day at work, the enjoyment of friendships fostered over a luscious Cabernet Sauvignon, or the quiet contentment of a soft Pinot Noir shared by parents after the children are tucked in for the night.  For us, these gratifying benefits to the soul are all we need to sip our vino.  We should have known that what’s good for the soul is good for the body.

Cheers To Your Health

Recently, there have been a slew of scientific studies relating new health benefits to moderate consumption of wine.  Many of us have known about “The French Paradox” of red wine.  In 1991, CBS’ 60 Minutes aired a segment that compared the high fat diet of people in Southern France, to high fat diets of Americans.  Although both populations consumed a high proportion of cheese, butter, eggs, organ meats, and other fatty and cholesterol-laden foods, the French had a much lower rate of heart disease than did the Americans.  This was chalked up to the prevalence of red wine in the French diet.  Some components in red wine have been shown to raises good cholesterol and prevent the hardening of arteries.  And so went the first modern scientific study of the positive health effects of wine consumption.  And also the beginning of thousands of new health studies on the impact of wine in diets.


Wine – especially red wine and grapes skins, are filled with antioxidants.   Antioxidants are one of our best defenses against free radicals – they battle free radicals.  Free radicals are harmful molecules in our bodies that damage cells, and promote ageing, diseases, and degenerative disorders.  Smoking and radiation increase free-radicals, but wine increases antioxidants.  See how that works?  Smoking- bad.  Wine- good.

The antioxidants in wine have even been shown to reduce aging, improve brain function (wine-ohs are brilliant), and even stimulate burning of fat.  Need more healthy reasons to enjoy that glass of wine tonight?  Read on.

Harvard Likes Wine

The Harvard School of Public Health conducted a 14-year study of over 100,000 women, aged 25 to 42, from 14 states. The Nurses Health Study required participants to complete a questionnaire every two years, detailing lifestyle choices and diagnoses of any medical conditions. The subjects were categorized into three levels of alcohol consumption. After factoring in such variables as family histories of diabetes and smoking habits, the study found that women who drank regularly and moderately (one or two drinks per day, a total of 15 to 30 grams of alcohol) had a 58% lower likelihood of developing diabetes.

Other medical studies point to multiple benefits of regular moderate wine drinking that may include lowered risks of stroke, colorectal tumors, skin and other types of cancers, senile dementia, and even the common cold, as well as reduce the effects of scarring from radiation treatments.

Sip. Enjoy. Be Happy.

It’s certainly refreshing to know the scientific health benefits afforded to wine.  But, I still believe that the most significant benefit to the sipping of a fabulous wine is the camaraderie and love that we feel when we sip that wine with our dearest friends and family.  Cheers to your health!

According to Dr Jean-Paul Broustet, of Haut Leveque Hospital in Pessac, southern France,, Cabernet Sauvignon has the highest levels of antioxidants.  Here are a few stellar one for your sipping pleasure.

Justin Vineyards and Winery - $26
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, CA

Gorgeous spice and cedar on the nose with a hint of tobacco.  A mouthful of ripe berry with a bit of vanilla, caramel and oak.  Justin always produces exceptional wines for the money, and their Cab is no exception.

Evil - $11
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
South East Australia

Evil is: 100 % Cabernet from 10 to 30 year old vines. Fruit came from three distinctly different regions: 38% McLaren Vale, 37% Barossa, 25% Pyrenees.  Big, bold juicy Aussie fruit is the hallmark of this bright, jammy wine.  Soft tannins, and raspberry make it eminently drinkable.  The price makes it eminently affordable.


The Vino Vixen is Mari Stull - Founder of Club BV*, former Vice President of Virtual Wine Selector, and member of the Society of Wine Educators.  Have a wine question or comment for Mari? She can be reached at

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