A Glass Or Two Each Day

The French are charmingly smug about their devotion to red wine, Gitanes and food cooked in goose fat. A study of 34,000 Frenchmen, conducted in 1997, indicated that a glass or two or red wine each day reduced mortality rates by a startling 30%. This is despite heavy consumption of saturated fats, stressful working conditions, smoking, etc.

First noted by physicians as early as 1819, this is called the French Paradox: people who lead a seemingly unhealthy lifestyle living well into their 80s and 90s.  A startling investigation carried out by the British Heart Foundation in 1992 shows that in spite of the French consuming over four times as much butter, 60% more cheese and 3 times as much pork as their American counterparts, the rate of heart disease amongst the French was only 83 per 100,000 compared to 230 per 100,000 in the US.

Red Wine contains Resveratrol, which can reduce Cardiovascular Disease and other heart ailments that cause stress on the body although in such minute dilutions that the human body shouldn’t really benefit from it at all. However, if the studies are correct – and the longevity of the French, and to a lesser extend, the Italians, who also enjoy a glass or two, seems to be ongoing proof of this – the consumption of red wine in particular provides a number of health benefits including anti-cancer, anti-aging and anti-viral. Current reports suggest that it might be particularly beneficial with the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease and HIV.

It is no wonder then, that when these findings were released to the general public in the 1990s that sales of wine increased notably.

However, whilst the French have pulled off this medical paradox for years, probably even centuries, it is not advisable to counter the obvious health risks of smoking or eating fat-laden foods by drinking extra gallons of wine. A daily intake of more than two glasses of wine can increase the risk of Cirrhosis (a degenerative disease of the liver exacerbated by a large consumption of alcohol and the main cause of death of chronic alcoholics) and cancer of the mouth/respiratory system, therefore, of course, removing any health benefits that it initially offers.

This is all very well, but how can you gain from these obvious health benefits if you are unable to drink wine?  You may be teetotal because of religious abstinence or for other reasons; you or your children might be underage or maybe you just don’t like the taste.

A Canadian company called Vinifera for Life have produced a cunning product that promises to give you all of the benefits of Resveratrol found in grapes but without the alcohol intake: flour, or (the company themselves seem a little unsure as to what it actually is yet) a powder that is used in small quantities in home baking or pasta.

The flour is made from what is left of the grape after it has been discarded following the wine making process, more astutely known as the pomace. It is a proven fact that, as with most fruits and vegetables in nature, that the main nutrients are found in the skin and the grape is no different. The pomace is put through a drying, sifting and grinding process to produce the flour which is added to normal flour to produce a deep purple coloured, more flavourful bread or, apparently, a lighter pasta. It certainly seems to me that if you were to serve violet coloured pasta or bread to children, they would eat it with gusto, because children seem to enjoy lurid coloured foods, plus they would be benefiting from the high levels of the Resveratrol, thus theoretically ensuring them a good start in life.

According the CK Foods Website, currently one of the few distributors of this highly specialised flour, you can also incorporate it into cheese-making and come in a variety of ‘noses’, Chardonnay, Cabernet and Icewine. The selling point is that you could serve a Chardonnay Baguette with Cabernet Pasta for supper, and in addition to impressing your guests, be gaining all the benefits of wine without over-extending any potential health risks.

Wine Flour is only available in Canada at the moment but it does seem to hold great promise. Vinifera for Life are planning introducing this into the US and more pertinently into Europe where wine consumption is prevalent and, depending on a certain factors (cost and taste are two that spring to mind), could be the new wonder health product of the millennium.

And no hangover in the morning either!

[writen by guest blogger Freya Erickson]

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Reader Comments

Interesting post, thanks.
In 1990 with all the news about the French Paradox, especially after the 60 minutes piece in the States, the shelves emptied. It was as if someone had announced prohibition, we couldn’t stock the shelves fast enough. If folks had only kept on with the daily regimen. It still needs to be something that the individual is engrained with. Because the French and the Italians, and many Europeans and South Americans, see it as a life-style, they are able to measure it out on a daily basis. It isn’t a fad to them. And in the States,it cannot just be another “diet” that comes and goes or is propped up by 60 minutes or the NY Times.
Thanks for the insights.

I work at a winery owned by a rather well-known cardiovascuar surgeon. One of his favorite sayings is “Wine is a health food” and tasting room receipts each have “Wine is good for the heart” printed at the bottom. It is nice to have justification for drinking wine regularly in a society where that might be frowned upon normally.

0.8 or bread tolerance ?
It sounds much interesting, health benefits and romance of wine. Something that the western european aging population could take everyday.
wine Bread for breakfast, and wine for dinner.
I reside in the north of Italy, we could ‘ mangiare pasta di vino ‘ with great acceptance.

I visited www.pmainternational.com , the international distributor, they have publications and recipes for this ‘ farina di vino ‘interesting. Arrivederla, Ricardo