Wine and Travel Learn About Wine Winery Notes Wine Reviews
Wine and Health

Is Wine Good or Bad For You?

For countries like France, Spain and Italy, wine is a staple beverage. In contrast, Americans consume very little wine, and a great number believe that wine is bad for your health.

After much government deliberation, it has been conceded that alcohol in moderation can be beneficial to a healthy lifestyle. The official recognition comes after long years of scientific research.

French Paradox
Credit should be given to the so-called French Paradox, the classic medical study of the early '90s that first touted wine as a health aid. The study noted that while Frenchmen eat an unhealthy, high-fat diet, they have an unexpectedly low incidence of coronary disease. The scientists concluded that one factor in this health anomaly is the French peopleís consumption of wine, particularly red, which helped clean their arteries of harmful fatty compounds. After the well-known "60 Minutes" segment on the subject in November 1991, wine consumption in the U.S. shot up immediately.

Since then, other medical studies have linked wine drinking with everything from longer life expectancy to lower incidence of strokes, cancer and arthritis. Wine is also credited with ongoing health benefits, like helping digestion and reducing stress.

Wine and Heart Disease
On January 4, 1996, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a statement confirming that moderate alcohol consumption is "associated with a lower risk for coronary heart disease."

Finally, on February 5, 1999, the U.S. federal government approved changes allowing winemakers to publish the connection between drinking wine and better health on their wine labels. As reported, the U.S. Treasury Departmentís Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which controls many aspects of the wine industry, allows wine makers to carry a non-specific reference to the "health effects" of wine on their labels, based on studies in recent years, suggesting that moderate drinking can lower the risk of coronary heart disease in some individuals.