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Today, my research tells me, is Drink Wine Day – a day that I (and many people I know) enjoy celebrating a bit more often than only on the 18th of February.

The idea of the day is to celebrate the joys of wine, and specifically the health benefits that moderate wine consumption holds. More than enough has been written about the benefits of drinking wine – many of it, I sometimes think, by writers and columnists who are trying to make themselves feel better about their own wine habits.

Wine - it can be good for you, but watch out that moderation does not spill over into excess.(© All Rights Reserved)

Wine – it can be good for you, but watch out that moderation does not spill over into excess.
(© All Rights Reserved)

Indeed, it has been reported that the antioxidant resveratrol in red wine “helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol and prevents blood clots.” Other reported benefits include that it reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, lowers the risk of colon cancer, slows brain decline, cuts the risk of cataracts and promotes longevity. It may even lower the risk of depression in women.

The key, of course, is that all these benefits apply to wine consumption ‘in moderation’ – a difficult measure to quantify, as it varies from person to person based on age, gender and weight, as well as genetic factors. Most sources, however, seem to agree with the 2005 US dietary guidelines as well as the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation, which define moderate drinking as one drink (150ml) a day for women and two a day for men. Some guidelines consider anything up to four drinks a day to still be moderate. Different countries also tend to have different measures of moderation, with France appearing to be particularly lenient.

Personally, I think if we’re honest, each person pretty much knows, intuitively, what moderate alcohol consumption is. You may not want to admit it, but you know when you’re exceeding ‘moderate’. And the bottom line is, when you pass this point drinking wine is no longer good for you. It may be fun at the time, but it’s no longer beneficial, and any long term benefits that may be gained from moderate consumption is quickly lost through excessive drinking.

So here’s to wine; here’s to moderation; and here’s to a long and healthy life. Cheers!!

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