When it comes to sophisticated ways to enjoy yourself, wine is among the first things we think of. With names like Sauvignon, Claret, and other such exotically elegant sounding monikers, carefully labelled, ordered, and situated in the stylish wine rack crafted from wood and metal, it is no wonder that wine tasting brings with it images of formal dresses and sharp evening suits.
But for someone trying to keep a watch on weight, with health at the heart of their meal plans, can wine really be an indulgence that we can afford? Without employing extensive mental gymnastics or overly complex rationalisations, can wine be healthy? To answer that question, here are four factors to consider.
There is no real accurate way to talk about the caloric value of a drink as wide and varied as wine. From red to white to rose to ice to all other kinds, the exact nature of just how much caloric energy a glass of wine contains can vary massively. However, approximate values can be estimated within a range, and according to various official sources a 3-5 ounce glass of wine will contain between 70-125 calories (though very rarely some can be much higher).
Excluding adjustments in diet and exercise, over the course of a week, two glasses of wine per day could add between 980 to 1,750 extra calories per week. Given that official estimates put 3,500 calories as the equivalent of one pound, two glasses of wine per day would see increased weight gain in as little as two weeks. That isn’t factoring in other impacts of alcohol consumption on weight gain.
As you consumer alcohol, your overall inhibitions will be lowered. This is one of alcohols most popular physiological features since it helps people relax, enjoy themselves, and generally cultivates a sense of pleasure and well-being as ancillary aspects of their personality are left to one side. However, as inhibitions are lowered, appetite levels can often increase.
Lowered inhibitions tend to make people more willing to do whatever feels good in the moment, thus leading to more of the kind of indulgences a more sober version of yourself might avoid, especially with healthy eating at the front of your mind.
Despite the seeming negativity in the first two sections here, the story of the healthiness or otherwise of wine is actually a good deal more complicated. One of the most often quoted benefits is the anti-oxidents found in plentiful supply among a whole host of different wines. The most important ones being epicatechin, resveratrol, and quercitin, all of which are involved in a selection of health benefits, including lowering the consumer’s cholesterol levels and the presence of disease causing free-radicals.
In the case of Resveratrol specifically, the antioxidant that is heavily present in red wines, there is evidence that it can limit cancer cell growth, and can offer cardio-vascular health benefits helping prevent fatty build ups along the arterial walls. In women there is also evidence that some of these antioxidants can reduce wait circumference. Antioxidents are far from a panacea, but they contain many health benefits that simply cannot be ignored.
The elephant in the room though cannot entirely be ignored. Although we have brushed past it with discussions of inhibitions being lowered, the simple truth is that alcohol is more than just the means by which tipsiness is triggered. For men, the official guidelines of healthy drinking is up to two drinks per day, while for women the recommended level is just one per day. Official sources suggest that a regular intake of single glass of alcohol per day can increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer by up to ten percent. For each other drink per day, this level increases a further ten percent. This isn’t even entering into all of the associated risks of intoxication, which are too complex and numerous to talk about in detail here, but are all too easily imagined.
It would be wrong to say from all this that the conclusion to be reached is that wine is universally unhealthy. However the level of moderation required puts it more in the realm of a weekly/fortnightly luxury than a daily indulgence or a regular form of relaxation. Wine should be something special to be savoured. Not something standard to be part of your everyday sustenance. Treat it this way, and health, happiness, and overall wellbeing are not too far away.
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