Many studies have revealed that moderate consumption of wine significantly reduces mortality caused by cardiovascular diseases. The beneficial effects of wine was familiar to Hippocrates, who used it as an antiseptic, sedative, improvement of the digestive system functionality and as part of daily diet.
FIRST AWARENESS OF WINE’S HEALING PROPERTIES
The wine has thousands of years of long and rich history. The first archaeological discoveries of its existence came 8000 years ago from Georgia, and in Europe it was first registered 4500 years ago. Wine was often used and mentioned by the ancient Greeks and Romans in religious and medical purposes, as well as in everyday social life. Its application in medicine dates back to the time of Hippocrates, who used it as an antiseptic, sedative, as improvement of the digestive system functionality and as part of daily diet. French paradox regarding the protective role of red wine while eating fatty and high calorie food comes from 1979, when a hypothesis was set about the reduced occurrence of cardiovascular diseases and mortality in France, just by continuous and moderate wine consumption. Four large studies conducted in countries with different populations, different lifestyle and habits (Denmark, California, Great Britain and France) once again confirmed the positive impact of moderate consumption of wine in reducing mortality from cardio-vascular diseases.
POSITIVE IMPACT OF WINE
The existence of specific components in wine like polyphenols (resveratrol and procyanidins) was proved In 1993, which act as antioxidants and inhibit oxidation of “bad” LDL cholesterol. A significant benefit is the proven mechanism to constantly raise “good” HDL cholesterol in the blood as a result of increased synthesis in the liver. Wine reduces the percentage of myocardial infarction. There is a difference between the French and German wine, where better quality of French wine is attributed to its greater production of nitric oxide (NO) due to the presence of polyphenols. They are important in the reduction process of atherosclerosis of blood vessels.
When consumed in small quantities, wine as a relaxant leads to lower blood pressure in the first couple of hours. In a healthy population, red wine raises blood pressure by 2-3 mm Hg. In people with high blood pressure, the influence of the wine in a rise in blood pressure is higher, and thus there’s a need of higher doses of treatment for high blood pressure. Wine has inhibitory effect on cancer cell mechanisms and reduces the risk of cancer.
Daily moderate consumption of red wine has a protective role in the body. It’s called J-shaped effect of red wine in moderation, as opposed to abstinence and alcohol abuse.
PERMISSIBLE AMOUNTS OF WINE
The permissible amount may vary depending on gender, age, genetic factors, weight, eating a variety of foods and the use of medicines. The female body has a tendency to faster absorb the alcohol because it contains less water in the organism and lower levels of stomach enzymes. Therefore moderate amount for men and women of the same age and with the same weight is not equal. Recommendations for “moderate consumption” are 1-2 drinks a day for women and 2-4 drinks a day for men. This recommendation does not justify drinking 12 glasses of wine at Sunday afternoon. It is recommended that consumption of red wine is done during a meal which reduces the absorption of fat as well its lower impact on blood pressure. Abuse of alcohol adversely affects multiple organs and can lead to high blood pressure, disorders of the blood, liver damage, cancerous changes, infertility, brain damage, often dementia, psoriasis, stroke, muscle atrophy, and during pregnancy may cause mental retardation of the fetus. Patients with certain rheumatic diseases are not recommended alcohol because of its effect in increasing uric acid in the blood. Due to the “uncertain” effect of alcohol, it is not recommended in cardiomyopathies. It must be noted its interactive effect with certain medications such as nitroglycerin, anxiolytics, neuroleptics and contraceptives.
RED OR WHITE WINE
Red wine has a more protective role than white wine and beer. However, so far there are not many long-term studies made that would reliably confirm or deny the benefits of red wine compared to other types of alcohol. The advantage of the wine consumers is their better lifestyle by using the mostly easy and healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, fibrates), the lower percentage of smokers and better socio-economic conditions. In France was noticed lower mortality rate up to 50% in areas where there’s more frequent use of red wine compared to parts of the country where there’s bigger consumption of white wine. This is due to smaller amounts of resveratrol contained in the white wine. Epidemiological findings from North America show that there is no important difference between red and white wine, which can be explained by different nutrition in Europe and in America, as well as the greater representation of food against alcohol within the meals in the American population. Epidemiological studies have confirmed the benefits of consuming moderate amounts of red wine for the prevention and reduction of cardiovascular diseases. Because of these facts, it should be given preference to the red wine which contains all the specific components (polyphenols) molecular mechanisms responsible for the anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and antilipemic effect.