Clare M. Hasler

Alcoholic beverages have been part of the human diet for thousands of years. Egyptian paintings show alcohol as integral to the lives of the nobility. And for good reason—before the relatively recent availability of clean, pure water, alcoholic beverages may have been the only safe liquids to drink!

Exploring the Health Benefits of Wine Although excessive alcohol consumption is clearly detrimental to health, drinking small to moderate amounts of alcohol has been shown to have a number of health benefits, most notably improving coron…

Figure 1: Relationship between ischaemic heart disease mortality rate in men ages 55–64 and wine consumption. Reprinted from The Lancet, Vol. 313, St. Leger et al., “Factors Associated with Cardiac Mortality in Developed Countries with Particular Reference to the Consumption of Wine,” 1018, © 1979, with permission from Elsevier.

Wine is a recommended dietary item on the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid. Illustration by George Middleton courtesy of Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust

Figure 2: Relative risk of total mortality (99% confidence interval) and alcohol intake (drinks per day) in men and women in the United States, Europe, and other countries using fixed and random-effects models. Data is taken from 56 curves as part of a meta-analysis of 34 prospective studies. The figure shows that up to 2 drinks per day was protective in women; 4 drinks per day was protective in men. From DiCastelnuovo et al., Arch. Intern. Med., 166: 2442 B) 2006, American Medical Assoc. All rights reserved

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