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Red wine can save your life, this is how

“Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.” - Louis Pasteur

“I’ve never eaten as much cheese as I did when I visited Paris. There’s a cheese shop on every corner, selling hundreds of varieties”. Says Carmine Gallo in his book, titled The Storyteller’s Secret. 

He continues to say, “It’s not light cheese either. French cheeses are very high in fat and the French eat about 60 percent more cheese than Americans. Moreover, the French consume more high-fat and high cholesterol meat.

He then asks, Why do Americans suffer from heart diseases at a much higher rate than the French, as suggested by several research studies?

On November 17, 1991, the popular news program called 60 minutes revealed a possible answer. The host, Morley Safer looked into the camera, held up a glass of red wine, and declared. “The answer to France’s low rate of heart diseases may lie in this inviting glass.”  In that instant the “French paradox” was born.

The French paradox is simply about French people having very low heart related diseases even though they consume high fat cheese and high fat meat regularly.

According to Carmine Gallo, prior to the 60 minutes segment, the medical community had focused on alcohol as the risk factor in a person’s diet. Overnight, the medical community and federal dietary guidelines began to suggest that moderate amounts of red wine could be part of a healthy lifestyle. 

Later, a substance in red wine called resveratrol was found to give red wine its heart-protecting properties.

That 60 minutes segment triggered a wine boom. Within one year consumption of red wine in America increased by more than 40 percent. Americans drank more wine than ever. They bought more Cabarnet Sauvignon and Merlot, two varietals that were easy to grow and had appealing price points.  The one varietal that did not participate in the boom was Pinot Noir.

However, in the 2004 Movie called Sideways….The main character, Miles takes his friend who is about to get married to California for wine tasting. When they arrive, Miles meet an attractive waitress called Maya. Miles and Maya both share a love for wines. In the pivotal scene of the movie, the two stroll outside to the porch with wine glasses in their hands. Why are you into Pinot? Maya Ask Miles.

Miles replied, It’s a hard grape to grow. It’s thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It’s not a survivor like Carbanet, which can just grow anywhere and thrive even when it’s neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. In fact, it can only grow in these specific, tucked away corners of the world. And only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really.

Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot’s potential can coax it into its fullest expression. It’s flavors are most haunting and brilliant and subtle, ancient on the planet.

Mile was describing himself in the dialogue using Pinot as a metaphor for his personality. In this one scene, moviegoers projected themselves on the character, feeling the longing and his quest to be understood.

But that is not what makes Pinot the best wine you can drink. A study published in 1995 in the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture compared various wines from around the world and found that Pinot noir wines had the highest content of resveratrol regardless of country of origin.

Among other benefits, resveratrol has been linked to lower risks of cancer, stroke, and heart diseases. As a South African, this important to consider because according to DisChem Pharmacies Wellness Clinic, one in every five deaths in SA is the result of heart diseases or stroke. 

Pinot also contains a healthy dose of other important antioxidants such as anthocyanins and procyanadins, which are some of the leading bad cholesterol reducing agents that also make room for more good cholesterol absorption. A glass of pinot delivers roughly 640 micrograms of resveratrol, a number that is unmatched by most other popular red wines.

Generally, The DailyMail post reports that “Wine drinking may dampen down the inflammation in the nose and airways which occurs when the immune system if fighting infection by cold viruses.” 

As we are approaching the winter season, cold viruses will be common and perhaps a glass of red wine can keep you safe even from the COVID-19 as they have similar symptoms.  

So what amount of red wine is good for you? The recommended, healthy moderate consumption is two glasses for men per day, and one glass for women. The reason is that men have more of the metabolic enzymes that break down alcohol. 

Caveat! Last year, News24 published an article, which found that finishing a whole bottle of wine is equivalent to smoking 10 cigarettes for women. For men, a bottle of wine is equal to smoking four cigarettes. Wine lovers, never, ever, forget that!


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