David’s article as prepared for the Duluth News Tribune for the article which ran on 1/21/2015:
Wine doesn’t often fit into a New Years resolution. After all the dinner parties, holiday get togethers and sweets, drinking more wine isn’t something included in a resolution. A New Years resolution is often about health, renewal, or reduction of vice. Consequently, during January, gym memberships, health clubs and yoga classes see a large surge in business. But wine consumption is often low on the “to do” list. When I’ve offered wine classes in January often the attendance and enthusiasm for the topic is minimal.
What is a wine lover to do? Should you practice abstinence from your favorite beverage? I don’t think any form of abstinence encourages good mental health. No, I think you should arm yourself with the one thing that will help you justify that glass of wine with dinner – knowledge.
The truth is that wine is good for you. And that is a very loaded statement because the truth is that alcohol is a mind altering substance that when consumed in large quantities or in moderately large amounts over time it can significantly impact your health in a multitude of detrimental ways that can eventually lead to addiction and death.
But alcohol consumed in moderation has been shown in numerous studies to be healthy. The interesting point to consider is that it doesn’t matter how the alcohol is consumed to impart the health benefit. Professor David J. Hanson Ph.D. of New York State University writing in an article on the health benefits of alcohol notes that the Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism wrote that “Numerous well-designed studies have concluded that moderate drinking is associated with improved cardiovascular health,” and the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association reported that “The lowest mortality occurs in those who consume one or two drinks per day.” A World Health Organization Technical Committee on Cardiovascular Disease asserted that the relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and reduced death from heart disease could no longer be doubted. But the benefits are not limited to reductions in heart disease.
The health benefits range from longer life to reduced risk of arthritis, dementia, Alzheimers, various cancers and prevention of the common cold. Professor Hanson presents a compelling argument for moderate drinking. He cites a Canadian Government guide to moderate drinking which is no more than three drinks per day, five days per week, for a total of 15 drinks per week for men. For women it no more than two drinks per day, five days per week, for a total of 10 drinks per week (a drink is one 12 ounce beer, one 5 ounce glass of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof alcohol). It is also recommends that, on any particular occasion, men consume no more than four drinks and that women consume no more than three. Healthy drinking tips are also: Drink slowly and don’t consume more than two drinks in any two hour period. Alternate alcoholic with non-alcoholic drinks. Eat before and while drinking. Always consider your age, body weight and health problems. The Canadian government asserts that alcohol has a place in society and that people who drink moderately benefit. Its guidelines and tips are based on science rather than ideology.
The list of health benefits from alcohol consumption is quite extensive and surprising. Professor Hanson cites 188 studies, many published in medical journals such as the American Journal of Public Health, American Medical Association, American Geriatrics Society, British Journal of Cancer, Lancet Oncology, New England Journal of Medicine and many more. His article can be found at http://www2.potsdam.edu/alcohol/AlcoholAndHealth.html.
Your new gym membership, your attendance at yoga class and your desire to eat healthy are all great pursuits for your New Years resolution as is a glass, or two, of wine at the end of the day.
David Devere is a certified specialist of wine. He teaches wine classes mainly in the Duluth, MN area. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.