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I like it Red, White & Sparkling!

Feb. 19, 2010

A chilly evening, a glass of red wine and soft music: what more do you need to feel young? This drink, which gets better with age, itself,has anti-aging properties. Resveretol, a chemical most abundant in grape skin, changes activity of certain genes in our body. This chemical decelerates aging, particularly aging of heart, by slowing down changes in tissue with age. I bet the fashion-frenzied French must have caught up with this fact fast enough to incorporate wine in their daily meals! For years, researchers have wondered how the French keep health failures under control regardless of heavy consumptions of saturated fats in their cuisine. This question, also conveniently known as French Paradox, found its conjectural rest in the, equally, high consumptions of red wine; conjectural because there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support the argument completely.

Besides adding sophisticated flavors to many European cuisines, wine also aids in digestion and encourages appetite. As a natural tranquilizer, wine helps with anxiety. Dating back to Greek mythology and ‘The Last Supper’, wine is mostly made of grape which has a perfect balance of sugar and other chemicals such that, unlike many other sources of alcohol, it doesn’t need any sugar, enzyme or other nutrients for fermentation. A wine can be categorized ‘dry’ or otherwise based on the absence or not of residual sugar after yeast is done fermenting the grape juice. A wine is a complex drink. A wine lover knows and appreciates the composite nature of his wine much like an epicurean welcomes the mix of spices in his food. To top its elegance off, different types of wine are best savored at different temperatures; a red is room-temperature wine while white and sparkling are best served chilled. Also, a European wine is classified based on the where it comes from while most of the American wine is classified by the variety of grape. The one accompanying this writing and my search for wine trivia is a deep red American and called Merlot!

Another interesting fact about wines, particularly red, is that they have catechins, better known as flavanoids, which boost immune system and are powerful anti-oxidants. Why Care? Because our normal bodily functions produce some residual things called free radicals. These free radicals are usually destroyed by anti-oxidants. However, exposure to smoking, pollution and radiation (pretty much a norm for the city life!) increases the amount of these free-radicals. In such a case if our body cannot muster the strength to provide for extra anti-oxidant supply, these free radicals start affecting surrounding tissues and cells leading to diseases like cancer.  The beauty of flavanoids as anti-oxidants are that they are selectively toxic to cancer cells, meaning that they destroy and keep cancerous cells from multiplying without any harm or hurt to the healthy cells.

However, all its benefits apart, wine requires caution! Like any other alcoholic drink, wine will indeed suppress all your tensions when taken in abundance but causes way too much harm to make it all worth the effort. The medicinal properties of wine apply only when taken in moderation (a glass or two a day at the most) and along the side of meals. For those who abstain from alcohol, not to worry because similar medicinal properties can be achieved by drinking grape juice too. However, those who do, be glad that wines aren’t worst of all evils; in fact they can do you quite good when served red and small!

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