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Wine or Grapes? Alcohol & Health

In February 2011 the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a review of 30 years of research which concluded that moderate drinkers had healthier hearts than non-drinkers. The review surmised that there was a 14% to 25% reduction in heart disease in moderate drinkers compared with people who never drank alcohol.

These findings were endorsed by a senior cardiac nurse quoted in the BMJ, as well as a nurse from the British Heart Foundation, who gave further endorsement to the claim that moderate drinking reduces the risk of cardio vascular disease. 

Whilst doctors and nurses will always qualify such opinions with warnings about the dangers of heavy consumption of alcohol, nonetheless your average drinker only sees the headline and reasons that if one or two drinks are good for the heart, then three or four will be just as good or even better. 

That’s the way the thinking goes for many people who drink.

A Spectacular Reversal

Now in a spectacular reversal a new study published by the very same BMJ has found that drinking a mere two glasses of wine a day can be detrimental to your health, thus even moderate alcohol consumption may be bad for you. 

This new study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University College London and Pennsylvania University, analysed drinking habits of 250,000 people from 50 studies.  They concluded that those who consumed less alcohol have better heart health. 

Dr. Caroline Dale of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who was the study co-ordinator said “our findings challenge the status quo that drinking low to moderate amounts of alcohol is good for your heart”.

Bad News for the Drinks Industry

It has always been my contention that the drinks industry with its massive marketing and PR departments was promoting positive messages on alcohol consumption. It would not be the first time that industry has subtly and covertly influenced research. 

But the drinks industry are going to have their time cut out as they try to cover-up or spin this latest alcohol research.  

Treating the Grape as a Whole

Scientists have pointed to the chemical resveratrol as the health promoting component of red wine. This chemical is found in the skins of all grapes. Notably white wine does not contain resveratrol because the fermenting process for white wine does not include the skins of the grape.

Resveratrol can be obtained as a food supplement at any health food store, so you do not need to drink red wine in order to ingest this chemical.  I prefer to obtain it by eating some seeded black grapes. Eating grapes whole, and enjoying the combination of crunched pips and black skins together with the delicious flesh make it truly a “superfood“.

Grape seeds have loads of nutrients packed inside them together with the seed oil itself, and all the fatty acids needed for a healthy heart and brain. Red grapes also contain vitamins A and E which are very beneficial for the skin and for longevity!  

We need to treat the grape as a whole. Seed, skin and flesh and preferably organic which makes it one of the world’s healthiest foods. Compared with wine itself, there is no contest but you never hear this mentioned when there is talk about the supposed benefits of alcoholic drinks.

Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked | July 24, 2014