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Health Aspect of Consuming Wine

Wine is a very complex drink that consists of more than 600 chemical compounds that have been detected and quantified recently. Most of these components are found in wine in very small quantities, but they play an important role in the taste, fragrance and flavour of the wine. The hygienic and nutritive value of wine has been of human interest for ages, thus wine was defined in different ways. Some people consider it an alcoholic beverage, while other consider it as food and cure. The interpretation that wine is not food since it does not contain a sufficient level of essential fatty acids, vitamins, proteins is not convincing since neither sugar, nor oil, nor other foodstuff contain these significant elements necessary for human body. The biggest problem why wine cannot be classified as food is alcohol content (ethanol).

The old Latin saying reads: "Si bene commemini, sunt quinque causae bibensi: hospitis adventus, praesens sitis atque futura, et vini bonitas, et quaelibet altera causa\". (If I remember well, there are five reasons why one should drink: hosting a guest, present and future thirst, good wine and anything else.)

When we speak about the health aspect of wine, we think about moderate consumption, for sure. This question was best answered in the 16th century by Swiss Paracelsus, one of the pioneers of medicinal chemistry: \"It is only the quantity to determine whether one thing will be a poison or not".

As regards the healthy characteristics of wine, they are known since the ancient times. A French biologist and chemist, Louis Pasteur claimed in the 19th century that wine was the healthiest and the most hygienic drink in the world. It contains mineral matters, acids, vitamin A and particularly important phenol substances with extremely positive effects ascribed.

Since 1991, everybody speaks about the so-called French paradox which is based on the fact that the French consume much fats of animal origin and are subject to a less number of myocardial infarcts compared to the Americans and other nations of the west Europe.

The substances with antioxidants such as phenol compounds are represented in red wine and they act as coronary protectors. These compounds prevent oxidation and cause the increase of lipoproteins of high density in blood, which are considered to be positive regulators of blood fat.

Wine also contains around 60 mg/l salicylic acid which represents a double quantity of a daily dose of aspirin that doctors recommend as prevention from cardiovascular diseases.

Apart from these features, wine has extremely antibacterial characteristics that have been known since ancient times. In 1892, Alois Pick poisoned water with cholera bacteria, mixed it with 1/3 wine and after five minutes drank it. It made no harm to his health.

Bactericidal effect of wine was ascribed to various compounds acids, alcohol, phenol matters, but in 1959 Masquelier established that synergism of all these compounds makes wine very bactericidal, but the strongest impact should be attributed to phenol compounds.

Finally, we should point out that these medical characteristics of wine have been asserted in practice. The French League for Cancer Prevention published the data showing that the population of viticulture areas suffered less from cancer incidence than the population of other regions in France. Eighty-year olds are more numerous in French viticulture regions than in non-viticulture regions.

A man has made wine from grapes since the ancient times. Since those ancient, mythological times, the power of wine to exalt a man, bestow him with serenity and power of speech made it
a drink of Gods in mans eyes. People liked to peep into the world of godly drinks so wine was often a way to a female heart. Wars were declared and truces signed with the presence of godly drinks. Wine accompanies births and success, but it is also a drink for the last farewell.