Can wine really improve our health and increase longevity? Scientists are beginning to say "Yes!" Supposing that the theory is true -- which wines give us the most bang for the buck?
Researchers have found that red wines rich in flavonoids are best for our health. Flavonoids are best known for their antioxidant qualities and help the body resist such maladies as allergens, viruses and carcinogens.
Red wines also contain anxioxidants, which help the body resist cancer and cardiovascular disease. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir contain the highest concentrations of antioxidants and flavonoids.
Other red wines such as Merlots and red zinfandels contain fewer flavonoids, but more than most white wines. So, the best bet for drinking wine for our health is to stick to the dryer red wines. Just because wine contains components that are central to good health doesn't give us a free rein to get plastered every night. Don't overdo it -- but adding a glass of wine to your daily diet can definitely make a difference to our health.
Paracelsus, the noted 16th-century Swiss physician wrote, "Wine is a food, a medicine and a poison - it's just a question of dose." As with almost any food or drink, wine consumed in large doses can be a detriment to our health.
Most health officials agree that one or two four-ounce glasses of wine per day can be beneficial to men, while women should limit their consumption to one four ounce serving per day.
Cardiovascular expert, Professor Roger Corder, has spent years studying the evidence of health benefits from red wine. In his new book, "The Wine Diet," he says he is convinced that most of us should include red wine in our every day lifestyle.
Corder discovered what he eventually labeled the "French Paradox." Specifically, he wondered why the French have a lower rate of heart disease despite the fact that their diet was extremely rich in fats. He concentrated his research on the southwest portion of France, where life expectancy seemed to be highest.
Professor Corder discovered that the region produces very tannic local wines, which contain the highest procyanidin (antioxidant) content of any wines, worldwide. This led him to further research on the amazing medical benefits of red wine.
While wine may not be man's ultimate elixir or fountain of youth, it certainly behooves us to consider adding a glass of wine or two to our daily diet - and raise a "toast" to our continued good health.