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Today’s task is to blog about the health benefits of red wine.  For some time now, I have heard of this possibility in various news and blog sources, but I had never really looked into it since I do not drink alcohol.  So now that I have looked into it, here’s what I’ve found.

Red wine is known to contain several antioxidants, the most interesting of which is a polyphenol called resveratrol.  Polyphenols on the whole consist of a wide-range of natural and synthetic organic molecules, some of which are highly caustic or carcinogenic.  Others, especially those occurring in fruits and other edible plants, are more likely to be of the helpful, antioxidant variety.  Resveratrol is, of course, one of the good ones.  Resveratrol and resveratrol-containing foods have long been used in traditional medicines around the world, which is likely what caused it to be the focus of further research.

Several studies over the last decade have shown many promising health benefits.  These include: increased “good” cholesterol (HDL), decreased “bad” cholesterol (LDL), decreased inflammation and reduced blood clotting.  All of these are beneficial, especially for your heart and arteries.  However, most of these studies were done on animals (rats, mice and pigs) and the ones done with humans have either been short-lived or showed no significant benefits.  In addition, the doses used in animal studies were often thousands of times higher that a person could naturally consume in a day. 

Positive benefits of resveratrol have been demonstrated in mammals, and of the natural sources where humans might encounter it, dry, red wines are the most likely and most concentrated places to find it.  If you already drink alcohol occasionally, choosing a glass or two of red wine with a meal may improve your health.  If you don’t already drink, you are probably better off staying away from alcohol. The known downsides of alcohol (possible addiction, impaired thinking/acting, liver damage) do not justify beginning to drink just to get the possible upsides of resveratrol.  Besides, resveratrol can be obtained in other means, such as from herbal extracts containing Japanese Knotweed.

Speaking of wine, if you do drink it there is one other way you can use that to “do your heart some good.”  That is by supporting One Hope Wine.  They are partnered with Genghis Grill and with Health Kwest (our welcome kit included a gift card for their website, www.onehopewine.com).  The reason supporting One Hope is good for your heart, is because One Hope donates 50% of their profits to select charities around the globe, such as providing meals for needy children, planting trees, and providing clean water in remote areas.  Since I don’t drink alcohol, I re-gifted my gift card to a friend who I know enjoys red wine.  She hasn’t told me how it was yet, but she was excited about the charitable benefits of this company.