Wellness

Wine: the benefits of moderate consumption

Written by Veronica Lavenia

In medio stat virtus, virtue lies in the middle, the Latins said. It will be for classical culture, it will be for that concept of Dolce vita, or living life enjoying beauty without excesses, it will be for this and much more that Italians have always made this Latin proverb a philosophy of life, especially in the food and wine field.

The culture of wine in Italy has always been rooted. Italy dominates wine exports around the world, with about 78 DOCG wines; 408 PDO wines and about 118 IGPs for a total of 526 awards (Source Italian Wines Federation). Leadership and numbers that could make one think (to those who know little about Italian culture), of a country where wine consumption is immoderate. Paradoxically, it is exactly the opposite. Wine is much loved by Italians (red triumphs over everyone, especially in the South) but it is moderation that makes the difference. Living in a wine producing country means growing up with the stories of peoples and territories that revolve around vineyards and, consequently, wine. Wine has a historical, cultural and family value for those who produce it (as well as economic, of course). Values ​​ handed down from generation to generation, also transforming into Food and Wine chances to be discovered, along wine routes rich in other food and wine heritages.

Such an important heritage, to embrace different territories, defended by Italy but also by countries with an important winemaking tradition such as Spain and France. For this reason, it is important to state that wine is a positive drink for our well-being only if consumed in moderation, remembering that virtue lies in the middle, within a correct diet (and, even in this, we Italians are lucky to have the greatest variety and food richness in the Mediterranean Diet, declared Intangible Heritage by UNESCO). Also for this, it is equally crucial to know that, over the last few years, more and more international scientific studies confirm the benefits of a moderate wine consumption.

The study Wine and health: A review of its benefits to human health, by D.A. Wurz in recalling that the medicinal use of wine was already known in the ancient Greeks at the time of Hippocrates (who reported the therapeutic properties of wine “drink used as a food supplement in cachexia, diuretic, purifying, antipyretic, antiseptic…”) underlines:” The richness of the elements that compose it make it a true liquid food with incomparable virtues”. The research also reiterated that: “the main condition for wine to bring benefits to health is that it is taken in moderation and together with meals , absorption of nutrients that are contained in food”. The investigation confirms the efficacy of resveratrol (present in vines, roots, seeds and stems): “In the prevention of heart disease associated with the consumption of red wine, as well as in the inhibition of platelet aggregation, in the alteration of eicosanoid synthesis and in the modulation of lipid and lipoprotein metabolism “. Finally, scientists underlines that: “like any alcoholic drink, wine also causes problems, if ingested, beyond the limits”.

A multidisciplinary scientific research, published in “Scientific Report“, in 2018, reaffirms what is already known about excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, focusing, however, also on the studies that confirm the benefits of wine, taken in moderate doses: “The reduced risk of cardiovascular disease as well as a number of cancers and an increase in cerebral blood flow are among the health benefits attributed to low alcohol consumption. “

An even more recent study, from 2019, Red Wine Consumption and Cardiovascular Health, published in 2019 in the scientific journal “Molecules”, focused in particular on the relationship between red wine and cardiovascular health, underlining that: “The benefits deriving from a moderate consumption of alcohol have been widely supported by the scientific literature and, in this line, the intake of red wine has been correlated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) ”.
Finally, in the same magazine (“Molecules”), one of the most recent studies, dated September 2021, Wine, Polyphenols, and Mediterranean Diets. What Else Is There to Say? focuses on the benefits of moderate wine consumption, as part of a healthy and varied diet, such as, for example, the Mediterranean Diet. The research shows that the benefits of wine are more evident in countries where moderate wine consumption is accompanied by eating habits of centuries-old tradition, with varieties of fruit, vegetables, legumes, olive oil: “The Mediterranean diet does not constitute a nutritional model narrow and unique but, rather, it is a compendium of different eating habits, traditionally followed by the countries of the Mediterranean basin. Despite their heterogeneity, some common patterns are observed in these countries, namely a high consumption of plant products such as fruit, vegetables, legumes and nuts, as well as cereals (bread, pasta, rice and whole grains); a moderate intake of dairy products, fish, poultry and eggs as main protein sources, with small amounts of red and processed meat; the use of olive oil as the main source of fat and water as a favorite drink. Furthermore, the diet is characterized by infusions and optional moderate quantities of wine with meals, and by a preference for seasonal, fresh and locally sourced products”.

The results of the study The evaluation of the antidiabetic effects of red wine polyphenols with the view of in silico prediction methods, published in April 2021 in the scientific journal “Food Bioscience” highlighted that: “polyphenols in red wine could bring about improvements in metabolism glucose (…) and could be protective against complications related to type 2 diabetes.

“In the middle lies virtue”, therefore, let’s also enjoy the pleasures of the table and a good glass of wine, a source of well-being for the mood and not only for the body, without forgetting that excesses, of any nature, are to be always avoided.

About the author

Veronica Lavenia

PhD.
Her scientific papers have been published in some of the most renowned international literary academic journals.
Italian based writer and magazine contributor.
Author of six books, some of her works have appeared in the most popular International Food magazines.
Food Connoisseur.
EVOO Communicator. Founder of the EVOO Column at "The Wolf Post".
Writer| Translator| Communication Manager at "The Wolf Post", since the birth of the magazine.

She has always lived in the countryside. She has learned to "get her hands dirty", working and reaping the benefits of the fields, since she was a child. She participated in grape harvests, olive picking and assisted in the subsequent stages of production.
Food & Wine tourism were the family holidays that educated her on the subject.

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