Drink Wine For Its Health Benefits

Q:
I grew up in a family that was alcohol-free. Now I’ve seen articles saying that red wine, in moderation, has health benefits.

The articles do warn against drinking too much, but I want to know how little is too little? What’s the minimum amount of red wine I can drink and still benefit from?

A:
We don’t know exactly what it is in red wine that seems to decrease heart disease. Is it the alcohol? Is it the resveratrol or bioflavonoids in the skin of the grape? There is some evidence of this, so people are making grape skin pills in hopes of garnering wine’s benefits without actually drinking it.

Your question goes to the heart of a public health debate. Should we ever recommend that people like you – non-drinkers – start drinking, because of some health benefits? The majority opinion is no. Obviously, alcohol has the potential to be a health disaster.

My basic philosophy, the theme of the book, “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry,” is that we do the most for our health when we increase the good habits that we already enjoy. We’re not going to stick to the stuff that we hate just because it’s good for us. I recommend that you do something good for your heart that you like to do.

There is evidence that a glass of red wine a day may be as helpful as exercising, eating a low-fat diet, having sex often, or being active and social. So if you don’t like drinking wine, Tim, I recommend that you stick to a moderate exercise and diet plan, and go out for dinner with friends a few times a week. Go to movies and plays, and listen to music.

What you have in your mind?