According to Inés Urquiaga, Chilean Investigator who will be participating in the round table "Wine and Health. Most Recent Investigations" at FENAVIN 2007
Inés Urquiaga Reus, Investigator and Professor of Cellular and Molecular Biology at the 'Pontificia Universidad Católica' in Chile will be participating in the round table "Wine and Health. Most Recent Investigations", along with Manuel Ibarra Lorente, Representative of the Spanish Agency of Medicine and under the coordination of the President of the Ciudad Real Board of Pharmacy, Ana López Casero. The event will be celebrated on the upcoming May 7th at FENAVIN 2007, 4th edition of the National Trade Fair on Wine, that will take place from May 7th to the 10th at the Ciudad Real Trade Fair Pavilion.
Urquiaga explains that "numerous testimonies indicate that wine has always been associated with beneficial effects for our health, and thus it has been described by Homer, Hippocrates, Socrates, Plinio the Old and Galen, just to name a few. The ancients expected to preserve their health by balancing four fluids: phlegm, blood, black bile and yellow bile. Hippocrates, considered to be the father of current day medicine, was convinced that sound use of wine could stimulate these liquids if they were weak and recuperate them if they were absent. Currently, 2500 years later, physicians continue to recommend wine for its medicinal characteristics".
Despite the numerous testimonies of the Mediterranean culture that related consumption of wine with good health and longevity, it was only towards the end of the eighties and beginning of the nineties that real interest arose to sustain these appreciations with scientific data, that is to say, once the "French Paradox" was described. The French Paradox refers to the fact that people in France suffer relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease, despite a diet comparatively rich in saturated fats and having high plasmatic cholesterol levels.
Renaud and collaborators studied the association between coronary heart disease mortality and consumption of different foods in 21 countries, foods that included vegetables, vegetable oils, fruits, dairy products and wine. What they found was that a moderate consumption of wine had a very high and significant inverse correlation, in this manner sustaining the idea that low coronary heart disease mortality rates in France and in the countries of the Mediterranean were due to moderate and regular consumption of wine.
Current evidence demonstrates that the beneficial effects of wine on human health, in relationship with coronary heart disease and other chronic illnesses, are due to both its content in alcohol and in polyphenols. A series of scientific studies have taken place in the last 15 years that prove that drinking in moderation is beneficial for our health, in particular for coronary heart disease, which represents the main cause of death in industrialized countries.
In general moderate drinkers have a lower general risk of mortality in relationship with teetotalers, standing between 10 and 20%; and a lower risk of mortality due to coronary heart disease and obstructive cerebrovascular disease (commonly known as internal carotid artery occlusion), standing between 30 and 40%. Even in the case of coronary heart disease a reduction of the risk of mortality and morbidity of up to 60% has been informed, the same depending on the population under study. With coronary heart disease representing the main cause of death in industrialized countries, as is likewise the case in ours, this information thus becomes very relevant for preventative medicine.
MODERATE AND REGULAR CONSUMPTION OF WINE WITH MEALS
The healthiest pattern of consumption is moderate and regular consumption of wine with meals. One glass a day for women (125 ml) and two glasses a day for men (250 ml). Men consuming 40 or more grams of ethanol per day in their drinks and women consuming over 20 or more grams a day lose out on the benefits of moderate consumption, thus being affected by hypertension, risk of cirrhosis, high triglycerides and other inconveniences.
Apart from the mentioned studies referring to the relationship between wine and alcoholic beverages and arteriosclerosis, special attention is currently paid to other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, arthritis. It has been observed that wine, unlike other alcoholic beverages, does not increase the waist's perimeter (abdominal obesity), which is currently acknowledged as a risk factor or predictor of very important coronary heart disease.
Also, according to the Investigator, "young people have become extreme weekend drinkers. They are following the consumption pattern of the Nordic countries, which is the unhealthiest; drinking large amounts of alcohol on the weekend, until they are completely drunk and then nothing during the week. They neither drink wine nor do they drink with their meals, in contrast to how wine is normally enjoyed. This increases incidents of violence and accidents, consequently increasing deaths due to these causes. We must remember that wine is par excellence the alcoholic beverage that is associated to a slow consumption with meals".
"We must inform people about how good it is to have a moderate amount of wine with their meals, as is traditional in the Mediterranean culture and in our own. Wine is an emblematic product, and we should enjoy its benefits from all points of view, gratification and health. We must educate the population on how to drink -and on how to eat- in a moderate manner, and in particular our young people, with clear and sustained messages. This task is responsibility of all, parents, schools, universities, media, journalists, industry and government", she claims.