Friday, February 10, 2012


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat? (Mostly plants.)

RULE #43 - Have a glass of wine with dinner.

Wine may not be the magic bullet in the French of Mediterranean diet, but it does seem to be an integral part of these dietary patterns. There is now considerable scientific evidence for the health benefits of alcohol to go with a few centuries of traditional belief and anecdotal evidence. Mindful of the social and health effects of alcoholism, public health authorities are loath to recommend drinking, but the fact is that people who drink moderately and regularly live longer and suffer considerably less heart disease than teetotalers. Alcohol of any kind appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, but the polyphenols in red wine (resveratrol in particular) may have unique protective qualities. Most experts recommend no more than two drinks a day for men, one for women. Also, the health benefits of alcohol may depend as much on the pattern of drinking as on the amount: Drinking a little every day is better than drinking a lot on the weekends, and drinking with food is better than drinking without it. Someday science may figure out the complex synergies at work in the traditional diet that includes wine, but until then we can marvel at its accumulated wisdom - and raise a glass to paradox.

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