INTRODUCTION Studies show that the consumption of red wine is a much more healthful drink compared to all other alcoholic beverages. This paper examines red wine and the daily consumption of red wine as a health related behavior. The paper proposes that the daily consumption of red wine is a health benefit for individuals in that it lowers the risk of heart disease, prevents the development of Alzheimer’s disease, and slows the aging process.
There are some reservations regarding the daily consumption of red wine such as the risk of alcoholism and over-consumption, but these are somewhat negligible. Even though most of society claims to be aware of some of the benefits of red wine, the medical community should do more to promote the daily consumption of red wine in America. HEALTH AND BEHAVIOR
Prevalent research, popular literature, and common sense, all indicate that living a healthier lifestyle extends the life-span and the overall quality of life for the average human being. One lifestyle change that can be readily implemented is drinking red wine daily and in moderation. It has been shown that societies in which red wine consumption is prevalent tend to experience lower levels of heart disease and coronary related deaths (Szmitko & Verma, 2005).
Yet, given the predominance of this conclusion, why do many people refuse to modify their behavior and behavior patterns to conform to the principles of a healthier lifestyle? While there are many explanations, and each in its own right is valid, there seems to be a rational blind spot on the part of individuals who live an unhealthy lifestyle, to persist in harmful behaviors, even though it runs counter to common sense—or what some researchers refer to as experienced based knowledge.
If, as Witt, VenDerHeyden, and Gilbertson stipulate, “Behavior is a function of the person interacting with the environment…”(2004, p. 363), then rationally blind behavior such as: smoking, eating an unhealthy diet, and lack of exercise, are an individual’s behavior demonstrating clear rejection of perceived authority or ignorance due to educational failings or economic failings. Drinking red wine as a component of an overall lifestyle program and behavioral change is an mportant consideration for many people. The characteristics of an effective exercise regimen for the average adult that can be included with such habits as drinking red wine daily are: “The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended that most adults…be physically active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week” (The Exercise Prescription, 2005, p. 1). This type of regimen requires serious behavior modification for the adult who has been sedentary for any period of time.
These are the same types of behavior modifications that should be undertaken when introducing daily intake of red wine. The amount of commitment and support an adult needs to adjust to such daily programs and lifestyle changes is significant when examined in terms of the socio-economic factors. Yet, often the healthcare establishment does not do enough to motivate individuals to develop an effective daily wine drinking habit or an exercise regimen for that matter.
Persisting in unhealthy behaviors is not only foolhardy, but potentially deadly, and steps to redress the reasons for not adhering to the principles of a healthy lifestyle must be taken within the population. Witt, VanDerHeyden, and Gilbertson suggest that to begin a behavior modification program, or an intervention program, one of the first steps to be taken is to examine the potential efficacy of the intervention itself (2004, p. 366). A program of drinking red wine on a daily basis is one potential outcome of a lifestyle change that can benefit the average individual.
Red wine is proposed because it, more so than other forms of alcohol, tends to benefit the health of the individual to a greater degree. Researchers have found that drinking any form of alcohol in moderate amounts can be beneficial to the individual (Szmitko & Verma, 2005). However, a vast of amount of research indicates that red wine specifically offers a far more complete health benefit than do other forms of alcohol. Red wine is commonly available in any myriad number of outlets such as grocery stores, liquor stores and even through online outlets.
Vineries and winemakers know that red wine receives its name because the grape juice from the grapes is kept in contact with the grape skins for given periods of time during the fermentation process of the wine (Red Wine Basics, 2009). Generally speaking, the depth of the red hue or coloration of the red wine is a direct relationship to the length of time that the juice is kept in contact with the grape skins. Additionally, there are other descriptors related to red wine that are used to make characterizations among the different varieties of red wines.
Some of the more popular types of red wines are those such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc (Red Wine Basics, 2009). All of these red wines, however, differ dramatically from other non-red wines, such as white wines, due to their exposure to the grape skins. It is also this exposure to the grape skins that imparts red wine’s particular health benefits discussed in the following sections. HEALTH BENEFITS OF RED WINE
Numerous health related studies have found that red wine is quite beneficial in addressing certain causes or contributors of heart disease and other ailments associated with aging such as Alzheimer’s disease. For instance, one study characterizes the habit of drinking red wine as a component of the Mediterranean diet which is so prevalent around the Mediterranean Sea in such countries as France, Italy, and Greece, and in which heart disease is often much lower than in other countries despite diets high in fat content (Why Red Wine is Healthier, 2001).
The studies reportedly found that red wines contain a variety of beneficial compounds such as polyphenols, which prevent proteins like endothelin-1 from developing (Why Red Wine is Healthier, 2001). These negative proteins like endothelin-1 contribute to the buildup of plaque on artery walls which eventually lead to heart disease, heart attacks, and even death. In essence, there is a long list of proven reasons why drinking red wines can benefit a person’s health. These health benefits are almost all founded upon solid medical research.
Some of the recognized and emerging health benefits that are founded upon this solid medical research are those such as help in maintaining physical fitness, in which alcohol in moderation is important because it boosts Omega 3 levels in the body (Peng, 2009). Omega 3 is actually a fatty acid that rests in the blood stream and people usually obtain it from foods such as fish but alcohol assists in its production. Omega 3 levels are known to positively impact certain factors that contribute to heart disease. This is related to the reduction of negative types of cholesterol in the blood stream.
This same research also reveals that medical science is now discovering that red wines specifically lower some male age groups’ occurrence of cancer such as lung cancer in which men who drank a glass or two of red wine a day could expect as much as a 60 percent reduction in the chance of developing lung cancer (Peng, 2009). This research not only supports the notion that moderate drinking is beneficial but that drinking red wine specifically is recommended. However, medical research is still ongoing and the research into the benefits of drinking red wine continues to produce positive results.
Red wine is such a powerful antioxidant that it is difficult to replace these antioxidants in such quantities with other foods. For example, emerging medical research is now showing that a particular chemical compound in red wine, resveratrol, specifically targets the development of Alzheimer’s disease in humans by targeting some of the harmful proteins that cause the brain damage associated with the disease (Wade, 2008). Since Alzheimer’s is one of the most recognized diseases associated with aging in which there is no effective treatment, this is important research.
If the introduction of a simple lifestyle change such as drinking moderate amounts of red wine daily can improve an individual’s quality of life then this should be recommended. This recommendation is based on sound medical research that has found that the polyphenols in red wine directly inhibit the buildup of two proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease which are AS40 and AS42 (University of California, 2008). This relationship between phenols or polyphenols and these proteins was not well understood until the advancement of medical science allowed researchers to examine their interaction within the human body.
NEGATIVE ASPECTS In spite of the overwhelming evidence that indicates how positive drinking red wine can be for one’s health, there are some important reservations that must be made. Red wine, just as any other alcohol, can impair one’s senses if it is consumed in excess. Red wine, just as any alcoholic beverage, if drunk in excess can result in very serious health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and other health issues related to diet (Szmitko & Verma, 2005). Alcohol in any form can only be processed in certain amounts by the uman body and if over-consumed then this results in the drunken sensation that many people consciously seek. Alcohol can lead to addiction in the form of alcoholism that in itself has very serious lifestyle and health related side effects. In terms of lifestyle, alcohol addiction can lead to an inability to function in society as well as to other socially unacceptable behaviors such as physical abuse of others or even oneself. These observations regarding the potential side-effects of alcohol that is consumed in excess must be kept in mind.
The positive benefits of drinking a glass or two of red wine a day do not outweigh, for example, the negative benefits of encouraging a recovering alcoholic to drink red wine on a daily basis. Consuming red wine can add an additional expense to one’s budget and although many varieties of red wine can be purchased relatively inexpensively, red wine itself is not an absolutely necessary food item for those who are economically suffering. Finally, the beneficial compound that is found in red wine (resveratrol) is now sold over the counter as a nutritional supplement.
Taking the supplement may be considered more advantageous than drinking red wine, as it would not necessarily lead to weight gain or alcohol dependency (Red Wine: Nature’s Source for Resveratrol and Polyphenols, 2009). TYPICAL CONSUMERS People who consume red wine and wines in general tend to represent the cross-section of the broader society as a whole. For instance, in a recent study of the US wine consumer market by Wine Intelligence released over the past several years, a review of the US wine consumer group profiles has been developed.
A brief review of this consumer segmentation reveals that except for the lowest socio-economic strata, most segments of the US society are at least familiar with wines and the potential benefits of drinking alcohol and red wine specifically. The focus of this project’s attention on the findings for the groups that by profile definition are of most value to the overall US wine marketplace and therefore relevant to that of the brand marketing of red wines, is necessary if further acceptance of drinking red wine as a health benefit can be expanded.
As is noted, these consumer profiles place premiums on other attributes then those dominated simply by price or health benefits alone and these qualities are important to understand. While in the research it has already been found that there is a general consensus that on some level there always exist price connection with perceived quality value, the perception of quality perceived other than the price value ratio, is important and these are qualities such as health benefits. Thus, these observations lead to other revelations. For example, in other studies consumer profiles were also identified similar to these.
The two most relevant studies identifying a wider spectrum of potential red wine consumers developed segments of consumers that were called, “The Enthusiast” which represents 12 percent of wine consumers and 29 percent share of the industry’s profits, and the “Image Seekers” who represent approximately 20 percent of the wine consuming population and 25 percent of the share of profits (Constellation Wines U. S. , 2005). In the Constellation study 32 percent of the consumer market is therefore generating 54 percent of the share of overall industry profits.
Other studies have tended to corroborate these figures indicating that the red wine market is poised for growth led by ongoing revelations of how it can improve general health and well-being. CONCLUSION Studies show that the consumption of red wine is a much more healthful drink compared to all other alcoholic beverages. Red wine has been shown to be beneficial for a wide variety of health reasons to the average individual. Red wine helps directly with the reduction of cardiovascular disease; it lowers susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease; and improves general physical fitness in most individuals.
Furthermore, several ingredients in red wine offer individuals that consume it a regular source of antioxidants which slow or reverse certain aspects of the aging process in many people. While red wine, just as any other alcoholic beverage, should only be drunk in moderation, it should be more widely recommended by the medical establishment as a lifestyle addition that can greatly improve the quality of life for many individuals. Red wine, in combination with a healthy diet and a sound fitness program can greatly reduce the development and severity of a variety of ailments associated with the aging process.
Daily consumption of red wine can extend one’s life over many years if done in moderation. While it might be impractical to hope that the daily consumption of red wine might one day be as prevalent in the US as it is in some of these other countries and societies, the ultimate objective of the medical community should be to elevate daily red wine consumption’s acceptance as a socially acceptable habit and behavior. REFERENCES Constellation Wines U. S. (2005, October 25th). Constellation Wines U. S. Releases Results of Landmark Consumer Study.
Retrieved March 18, 2009, from http://www. cwinesus. com/pdf/genome. pdf Peng. T. (2009). Four more reasons to drink red wine. Newsweek Online. Retrieved March 17, 2009, from http://www. newsweek. com/id/181242. Red Wine Basics. (2009). The Wine Cellar (online). Retrieved March 06, 2009, from: http://www. winecellartexas. com/ Interesting percent20Stuff/Basic percent20Red percent20Wine. pdf Red wine: nature’s source for resveratrol and polyphenols. (2009). Smart Publications. Retrieved March 18, 2009, from http://www. smart-publications. om/anti-aging/resveratrol_red_wine. php Szmitko, P. & Verma, S. (2005). Red wine and your heart. American Heart Association Circulation, 111, p. e10-e11. The Exercise Prescription. (2005). Post Graduate Medicine 117(4), 51, 1p. University of California – Los Angeles (2008, November 23). How Red Wine Compounds Fight Alzheimer’s Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2009, from http://www. sciencedaily. com /releases/2008/11/081121092454. htm Wade, N. (2008). New hints seen that red wine may slow aging. The New York Times.
Retrieved March 18, 2009, from http://www. nytimes. com/2008/06/04/health/research/04aging. html? ex=1370318400& amp;en=76bfeae177c1db5a=5124=permalink=permalink Why red wine is healthier. (2001). BBC news. Retrieved March 17, 2009, from http://news. bbc. co. uk/ 2/hi/health/1719675. stm Witt, J. C. , VanDerHeyden, A. M. , & Gilbertson, D. (2004). Troubleshooting behavioral interventions: a systematic process for finding and eliminating problems. School Psychology Review, 33(3), 363, 21p. ———————– Citation #10