Hippocrates was likely the first to tout the health benefits of alcohol, and numerous modern studies have since won over members of the medical community that now endorse moderate drinking. The drink of choice among health professionals is red wine - up to two glasses a night for men. Thanks to its abundance of phytonutrients, which are natural chemicals that help improve cell signaling and antioxidant activity, red wine has many positive effects including fighting inflammation throughout the body.
"Red wine has about five times more phytonutrients than white wine,"says Jo Robinson, investigative journalist and author of Eating on the Wild Side, which comes out in paperback in May. Phytonutrients are in the skins of the grapes and since the skins are removed immediately for white wine, red is the superior choice. Robinson says phytonutrient levels are easily gauged by holding your glass up to a light. The less light that comes through, the better. The list of healthiest red wines includes Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. So pour yourself a glass and read on about its benefits.
A 2011 study from Loyola University looked at research dating back as far as 1977 and found that moderate drinking didn't impair cognition in young people. It also found these moderate drinkers were 23 percent less likely to develop dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and other kinds of cognitive impairment as they aged. A smaller result from the same study suggested that wine was more protective than other alcohols. However, Robinson says people need to be aware that too much drinking can cause cognitive problems, such as alcohol-related dementia.
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