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Uncorking the Truth

Red wine's benefits also have a down side

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Uncorking the Truth

Some people are increasing their red wine consumption, believing it is good for them. Drinking more, though, has some definite down sides.

Some people are increasing their red wine consumption, believing it is good for them. Drinking more, though, has some definite down sides.

Chemically speaking, alcohol is a poison that needs to be broken down by the liver and safely removed from the body. Consequently, alcohol contributes to free-radical damage in the body’s tissues, damaging arteries, potentially ruining DNA (a possible precursor for cancer growth), and even contributing to wrinkling and aging by damaging cellular structures. The American Institute for Cancer Research revealed in 1998 that alcohol consumption increases the risk of mouth, laryngeal, esophageal, lung, liver, breast, and colon cancer.

Empty Calories

Nutritionally, alcoholic drinks provide plenty of extra calories but offer minimal nutritional value in return. They sometimes even lead to nutrition debt, where the body has to use its vitamin and mineral stores to safely neutralize the alcohol.

Enter red wine to the rescue! Made with the skin of the red grape, the restorative value of red wine comes from the red pigment, resveratrol. We’ve all heard that this antioxidant is linked to reduced risk of heart disease and increased cardiovascular health. Unfortunately, a fact that is ignored in most media reports is that red wine’s benefits have been successfully duplicated with red grape juice (even though these studies aren’t as much fun!) and most researchers do not actually encourage nondrinkers to start drinking red wine.

Break the Cycle

Many of my nutritional clients are now drinking two to three glasses of red wine each day, mainly to help them relax after a harried day. Coming home exhausted, they drink wine to relax. But alcohol also stimulates the body and then they can’t get to sleep. Feeling terrible the next morning, they have to drink coffee and soft drinks to get through the day, arriving home burnt out and exhausted, only to begin the cycle again.

If this sounds familiar, my suggestion is to begin a detoxification and cleansing program to cleanse the liver, and each day prepare an antioxidant-rich fruit spritzer when you get home. Save your best quality organic red wine for weekends or special occasions. Salut!

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