Wine and Health
Wine and Health,
“Wine is at the head of all medicines” – BabylonianTalmud - Bava Basra, 58b
“Old wine is good for the stomach” – BabylonianTalmud - Berachos, 51a
Over 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates recommended wine to relieve fevers, disinfect wounds, supplement nutrition, and much more. It is said that in the 19th century European wine drinkers escaped the ravages of cholera, it is believed because the wine destroyed the bacteria which caused the disease.
Rambam (Maimonidies) wrote 800 years ago: “It was well-known among physicians that the best of the nourishing foods is one that the Muslim religion forbids, i.e. wine: it is rapidly-digested and helps digest other foods; the benefits of wine are many if taken in proper amounts, as it keeps the body in a healthy condition and cures many illnesses.”
Certainly Rambam was referring to the right amounts of wine and at the right times. I believe this is a fine example of using kosher wine in a kosher way.
Today the claims and research continue: It may reduce: cholesterol; the risk of heart disease; the risk of diabetes; loss of bone mass; and more. It may even increase longevity according to a recent study.
There is the famous “French Paradox,” or the enigma made famous by a 1991 CBS story on how the French outlive Americans with a diet based on saturated fats, rich cooking, French pastry, and non-filtered cigarettes. The magic elixir was, of course, wine; and so the consumption of wine in America grew by 30%. Many cultures, including Greeks, Spanish, Portuguese, Italians, French and others are said to have a “gusto for life” and include a regular consumption of wine in their diet.
Is it white wine or red wine, the tannins, anti-oxidant compounds, flavonoids, enzyme releasers, resveratrol? Can a French pharmaceutical company really make it into a pill? Some day, perhaps, will we toast to their success? That remains to be seen, but if they ever do, I can tell you that I, for one, plan to be washing it down with a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.
“And wine will gladden life” Kohelles 10:19 (Ecclesiastes)