Years ago, when my grandfather was still alive, well meaning friends and family would get terribly upset if they saw him drinking and smoking. “How could you let him do that?” Granted, he was missing a lung from cancer, and had been an alcoholic for all the time I was growing up, but the guy was 92 and still going strong. Was not smoking or drinking going to give him an extra week with us? Or would the deprivation hasten his demise?
Fast forward to a new century. Red wine, specifically Pinot Noir (the grape used in Burgundy) in moderation, is heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of “good” cholesterol and protecting against artery damage. According to the Mayo Clinic, researchers think antioxidants, such as flavonoids or a substance called resveratrol, have promising heart-healthy benefits. Resveratrol may also turn out to be the “fountain of youth”. From a 60 Minutes piece earlier this year: “You have fat mice, and you have fat mice with resveratrol. And the ones that are on resveratrol, they can run twice as far, and they live longer, about 20 percent longer”.
If living longer and healthier isn’t enough, how about preventing tooth decay and gum disease? From the most recent issue of The Week: “Researchers in Italy have found that in addition to other health benefits, red wine can help prevent tooth decay.” And from Discovery News: “Scientists from Laval University in Quebec found that polyphenols in red wine also help to control immune cell response in gums to bacterial infection.”
So just in time for the holidays, forget the champagne, and break out the Pinots! Our friend Steve Girard at Benton Lane, makes some fine Oregon Pinots, that along with tasting fantastic, are know to have some of the highest levels of resveratrol of any wines. But however you enjoy, enjoy in moderation.
More from food