First Published Costa News Group January 2012

RESERVA OR RESVERATROL, SIR?

QUESTIONABLE HEALTH BENEFITS OF DRINKING RED WINE

La Crisis is alive and well in Spain. Fuel, and just about everything else has gone up, whilst wages have remained the same and in some cases have actually dropped. Pharmacies have taken industrial action by closing for three days as they’ve not been paid by Regional Governments. Taxes have increased, the standard of living has fallen along with the Euro.

Spain’s low credit rating dithers. If we had any spare money there’s no point in saving as interest rates are at an all time low. Even the Royal Wedding feel-good factor has dissipated and M&S have reported poor Christmas sales figures!

And, just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, there is now a question mark about possible health benefits from drinking red wine!

It was in 2003 when Dr. William McCrae, of Swindon’s Great Western Hospital, hit the headlines after acknowledging that he had prescribed 2 glasses of red wine a day (in fact Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon!) to 400 cardiac patients. The bandwagon began to roll.

In 2005 an Oregan (USA) winery was given permission to include on their labels that their wines contained antioxidants.

 

In 2007 Resveratrol, a compound found in grape skins, the more so in those of black grapes, was proven again to be an antioxidant and was added to a pill used to help stop cancer.

 

In 2008 a US study found that Resveratrol can help fight diabetes and obesity.

In 2009 research, conducted in Spain and published in the journal ‘Heart’, under the authorship of Dr. Larraitz Arriola, found that the risk of coronary heart disease decreases as alcohol consumption increases! Although the team was quick to point out that benefits must be set against the dangers of over-consumption!

In July 2011 Resveratrol was championed as an antidote to the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, where it was also stressed that the benefits of exercise were undisputed and Resveratrol should not be seen as an alternative, but used by those who, perhaps because of injury or an office-bound lifestyle, were not able to jog, gym and swim!

A month later another study suggested that the same antioxidant, Resveratrol, could be used to treat life-threatening inflammations such as appendicitis and peritonitis.

We loved it didn’t we! Medical practitioners throughout centuries had always used wine as a medicine believing, correctly we learned, that there were health benefits from its consumption. Now we had the proof!

But hold on – in September 2011 a group of Australian scientists challenged previous findings that red wine helps prevent heart disease (I wonder if their next study will research tinnies!). Their report entitled, ‘Myth Busted – red wine no magic remedy for heart disease’, stated that any positive effects of alcohol in reducing cardiovascular disease have been hugely overestimated, concluding that the dangers of alcohol far outweigh any health benefit.

And now it has just been revealed that a doctor at the University of Connecticut (USA) has allegedly fabricated results and falsified data that suggested health benefits from red wine consumption!

Where will it all end? Well for me, in a moment, it will end in a glass of rich, red wine, because I love it (in moderation like everything, of course – our Grannies were right weren’t they?!) and not because I believe it will help fight the cause of my father’s extremely untimely death (at only 48 years of age) and that of two of his three brothers. Yes, you guessed it, heart attacks!

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