Wine and Health

A large glass of red wineIt’s that time of the week again, time to crack open a bottle to share and time to wonder about the health effects or otherwise of wine. There have been hints for years that various antioxidant components of wine, and red wine in particular, could be protective against cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and stroke, basically). Although I’ve reported on some of those studies, I’ve always been rather skeptical of the claims they make because fundamentally imbibing large quantities of a volatile organic solvent (VOC) (ethanol) is not really a good idea (think brain and liver damage). More to the point, we need free radicals to help our immune systems ward off pathogens, so couldn’t stifling them cause more problems than they fix.

Anyway, toxicity is always about dose. However, anyone who has suffered the morning after the night before will know all about the toxic side effects and the downside of ingesting ethanol. the downside is far more well documented in fact than any of the purported benefits of the antioxidant congeners.

So well document in fact are the side-effects that governments are considering making health warnings on booze obligatory in the same way that they are for cigarettes in many places. It makes sense, even if some people cry: “Nanny state gone mad!”. At least those who are unaware of the serious risks associated with overindulging in flavoured ethanol solutions will hopefully get the message and make the right choice.

Now, where did I put that corkscrew..?

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