The Mountain Times

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Wine, a health choice in moderation

The chemical composition of wine makes it a natural companion to many foods, since the mild acidity of wine contrasts with the oily or fatty contents of food. And the carbohydrates, sugars and alcohols in wine tend to complement other elements in food.
As with all beverages that contain ethanol, wine is a psychotropic drug. The effect and response varies by individual metabolism and quantity consumed. This can be a positive feeling for the individual as it normally begins with relaxation and stimulation, which also promotes social interaction. It is easy, however, to indulge beyond a healthy measure.

As the quantity of alcohol in the blood increases, its toxic effects become more pronounced. What began as relaxation may become loss of motor control or even consciousness in some extreme situations. Initial stimulation can also turn to aggravation or aggression. Drinking any alcohol beyond moderation (becoming drunk) is unhealthy for mind and body and can lead to addiction. It can be both painful to the drunk and dangerous to the bystander.

Regardless of age, weight, gender, type or quantity of food accompaniment, a couple of glasses, or up to 8-10 ounces of table wine should be the limit for one session. The best way to prevent consuming too much is to drink slowly and accompany your intake with plenty of water. Moderation is required if you want to include wine in a healthful lifestyle.

Composed of roughly 85% water, 12% ethyl alcohol, a touch of tartaric, malic and several other acids, wine also contains various sugars and carbohydrates, less common alcohols, aromatic aldehydes, ketones, phenolics, enzymes, pigments, many vitamins, some minerals and other substances yet to be identified.

There are in all, over 300 separate ingredients identified in wine so far, more than half of them discovered since the 1950s, when modern chemistry techniques began to improve. Most of these elements lend complexity to wine flavors and have little or no nutritional impact other than to assist with digestion. However certain compounds in wine, such as catechins, flavinoids, resveratrol and quercetin, can play a prophylactic role against human diseases or have preservative effects on the human body itself.

While wine does not contain any fat or cholesterol, it does contain calories from carbohydrates. The actual caloric content of any wine depends on the levels of both sugar and alcohol. Each six-ounce glass of dry (12.5% alcohol) wine measures about 150 calories, which is about the same as a pint of beer. A stronger, sweeter wine such as Port (20% alcohol) may pack the same calorie count in a much smaller three-ounce serving. To get pleasure from wine without the ill effects off over indulging, drink in moderation.

Tagged: Wine