The wine is closely connected to Man throughout the centuries, holding a prominent position in several civilizations and religions. A beverage, associated to the concept of moderation the good physical and psychological status, but also to the concept of macrobiotics.
The infamous doctors of antiquity, Hippocrates and Galenus, used it for therapeutic purposes, rendering wine the oldest known medical substance, since more than 5000 years. Its applications included antisepsis of wounds and of the skin prior to surgical operations, but also the sterilization of potable water. Moreover, they used it for its soothing, sleep-inducing, anesthetic, appetizing and tonifying qualities, as treatment for anemia, as protection against diarrhea, but also to help bowel movement and as diuretic. The heroes of Homer drank wine before they were off for a battle as well as on their return, to alleviate their thirst or to recuperate their strength and courage, a fact that depicts the psychosomatic influence of wine over the human organism. We should not, nevertheless, forget that the alcohol, which is included in the wine in a percentage of approximately 12%, induces, in the case of abuse, such as in the situation of alcoholism, adverse effects on the human organism. It causes direct toxic damage of the brain and nerves (oedema, degeneration), of the heart (myocardiopathy), of the stomach (gastritis), of pancreas (pancreatitis), whereas it is indirectly blamed for other harms which are due, in most cases, to bad nutrition habits.
Research of the last 20 years shows that wine, especially red wine, has positive effects on health, when accompanying lunch on a daily basis. The rule “All things in moderation” is again valid here: about 1/3 of a bottle for men and half of it for women. The consumption of such a quantity reduces cardiovascular episodes by 20 to 60%, improves the operation of the stomach and the process of digestion, impedes cholelithiasis, facilitates the circulation of the blood in the tissues, acts as anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, enhances resistance against common colds and incites sleep. In addition, it spurs euphoria, quality of life and longevity, diminishing mortality irrespective of causal factor, by 10-20%.
The scientific interpretation for the beneficial effect the wine has on the heart, was given recently, by the announcement of the results of a worldwide study on the cardiovascular disease, with the code name MONIKA. In particular, in France, deaths caused by cardio-vascular disease were observed to be fewer than those in the USA (by 57%) and in Great Britain (by 79% in Glasgow), despite the considerable consumption of saturated fats. This was called the FRENCH PARADOX. This death rate drop was attributed to the wine the French drink regularly.
Let’s now see things from a closer focus
Drinking a moderate amount of red wine daily, reduces the risk of dying from coronary artery disease. This is because red wine includes natural anti-oxidants which remove ruinous products of metabolism (usually free radicals), hindering the formation of blood clots.
One kind of the anti-oxidant phenolic factor of red wine, are the phlavonoids, secondary vegetal metabolites, which enforce cardio-protection.
The tannins, a phlavonoid found mainly in the seed and the superficial membrane of the red grape, have an extraordinary anti-atherogenic capacity: they reduce fat deposition on the aorta through decreasing the oxidation of LDL Cholesterol. Moreover, the alcohol included in the wine increases the level of HDL cholesterol in the serum and impedes the coagulation of platelets.
Resveratrol, an anti-oxidant found in grapes and in red wine, fights cancer through blocking NF – kappaB protein, which protects cancer cell from the effects of chemical therapy.
It actually acts as an anti-biotic which prevents healthy cells from becoming to cancer cells and interrupts cancer spread.
Resveratrol blocks the cellular inflammation which is associated to various types of arthritis and other diseases.
The consumption of red wine inhibits NF – kappaB protein, which is another contributing factor to atherosclerosis, via increasing the level of VLDL serum cholesterol, as shown by studies upon peripheral blood samples of monocytes / macrophage. The catalytic elements (sulphur or magnesium) of certain wines trigger chemical reactions which assist cell regeneration, thanks to the removal of toxins and liquid surplus from joints.
By keeping the wine in our mouth, we raise its temperature, permitting the release of all aromatic substances of the specific variety, but also the physical contact with every part of the stomatic cavity. There from we experience the physical delight and the secretion of saliva. This procedure stimulates the flow of peptic liquids, and in particular of ptyaline, an enzyme which helps our organism to absorb carbohydrates and starches, accelerating digestion.
A bottle of dry red wine will help us feel better.
Sweet wines activate bowel movement.
Mineral salts in white wines play a subsidiary role in the operation of the kidneys, cleansing the urinary tract.