One glass of wine won't hurt

Technology | Cindy Krischer Goodman 14 May 2019

On a Friday afternoon, Yvette Vezina settles into her hairstylist's chair at Tipsy Salonbar to get coloring, and to indulge in a cold glass of pinot grigio. "Drinking wine is relaxing," Vezina said. "I really enjoy it."

Wine is flowing at hair salons, furniture stores, book club meetings, art galleries and more. Wine has become so popular that specialty grocery stores serve customers wine while they shop. And at Tipsy Nailbar and Salon, manager Duke Hoang offers an extensive menu of wine choices to customers as they have their fingernails polished and hair cut.

"Our customers love to drink their wine and get comfortable," said Hoang, whose salon goes through about 20 bottles a week.

Wine is a popular alcohol choice, particularly women who make up about 60 percent of wine sales, according to the Wine Market Council.

In 2018, wine consumption rose again year over year - as it has since 1993 - with drinkers imbibing more than 750 million gallons of wine, according to The State of the Wine Industry 2019 report.

But industry experts are cautioning wine sales could taper off, unless millennials buy into the positive health messaging.

So how healthy is wine?

"It's an antioxidant," said John Rivas, a board-certified liver specialist. "We have a big-time epidemic of fatty liver disease with supersized foods and a lot of calories from fat. Wine helps protect the liver from inflammation caused by fat."

Rivas said the health benefits depend on moderation in drinking - no more than two glasses of wine a day. "You want to drink enough that you are getting the antioxidant properties, but not enough that it ends up causing damage."

Beyond benefiting the liver, moderate wine drinking is linked with a longer life span.

In a study published in 2018 of 1,600 people aged 90 and older, University of California, Irvine, professor and researcher Claudia Kawas found drinking wine regularly was associated with 18 percent reduced risk of premature death.

"It did not necessarily have to be daily," Kawas said. "It just had to be sometimes."

And while wine could affect longevity, it may also help with mental health as people age.

A 2011 Loyola University Medical Center study of the older population, looking at data from 19 nations, found a lower risk of dementia among regular, moderate red wine drinkers in 14 countries.

Vezina, who says the warm climate makes a cold, white wine enticing, wonders if she should be drinking red - or if the stress relief of relaxing at the salon with a pinot grigio is benefit enough.

"There are absolutely benefits in terms of stress relief," said Kashmira Bhadha, medical director for women's cardiac health at Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines. "That is one factor as far as cardiovascular benefits go, but only if you're drinking in extreme moderation."

Scientists have found red and white wines both contain resveratrol, a compound found in the skin of grapes, that has been tied to improved heart and blood health. Red wine, however, has more resveratrol.

Bhadha said the resveratrol in red wine is the reason it is included in a heart-healthy diet. Red wine raises the good cholesterol and helps with hypertension, she said. "Once you exceed the advised amount though, it will have an adverse effect."

For women, that amount is 120 to 180 mililiters a day, and for men it is 240 to eight to 300 mililiters a day, she said.

Wine also has the benefit of helping prevent dental cavities by getting rid of bacteria on the teeth, according to dentist Bruce Lein. "It's best to drink a lot of water though to keep the wine from staining your teeth or deteriorating the enamel."

Some studies take a different approach to wine's effect on health. A UK study released recently found drinking one bottle of wine each week could have the same carcinogenic impact as smoking five cigarettes for men and 10 cigarettes for women.

Also, The National Cancer Institute has said that the more alcohol a person drinks regularly over time, the higher the risk of developing certain alcohol-associated cancers such as colon and breast cancer.

Bhadha said if you drink wine to reap the health benefits, the key is also to try also incorporating heart-healthy foods like those in the Mediterranean diet. Most importantly, she said: "Drink in extreme moderation."

Sun Sentinel (TNS)

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