• Val

Day 25 – Is Red Wine Good For Heart Health?

Updated: Apr 19



Further Info.

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How this Journal Blog came into being

About the PTSD Symptom 1

About the PTSD Symptom 2

Alcohol Safety

Alcohol FAQs


WOOOAHHH! Where did that week go?!

Last time I wrote it was Monday and here I am now on Friday!


I had an awesome week! I had my first surf of 2021 on Tuesday which made me very happy! 😀


I was super lucky too as I booked onto a group lesson but since no one else was booked on I had a one-to-one!


Love me a bit of time outdoors in nature!

(Picture 6th April 2021, Croyde Bay)

Is Red Wine Good For Heart Health?


I had a great question about alcohol emailed through to me this week:


“My question is this, I've heard that the body treats alcohol like a poison and just wants it out but I'm confused by the claim that red wine is good for you in moderation.”


This is such a great question since many people do ask about this although it’s the first time I have been directly asked about it.


There are a few points to consider here…



1. Research and its Context


Some research is taken out of context and used to assume a cause-and-effect response when the research was not designed to elicit such an outcome. For a study to be able to show a causal effect it must be designed such that only X variable can cause Y outcome. This is very challenging to elicit exactly in research because it would mean that all other variables in the research subjects must be exactly the same. A study can show a relationship between X variable and Y outcome and this is then known as a correlation. If all other variables cannot be controlled, the research shows a link between the two, i.e. a correlation, and not a causal effect since it cannot be ascertained definitively that X variable caused Y outcome due to the possible impact of the other variables involved.


One of the seminal studies on the subject of red wine and heart health only provided a positive correlation between good heart health and moderate consumption of red wine. It could not definitively say that red wine was the cause of good heart health.


However, this positive correlation was then used with a specific purpose in mind to justify alcohol consumption as good for human health.


Bear in mind, it can also be pertinent to look at who funded the research or posted the article in the news. Much of what we read as news is actually Public Relations media sponsored by one company or another.


For example, during the time that sugar was getting bad press in respect of health (rightly so in my opinion), the company behind Coca Cola funded research to then report an opposing view in order to reduce the impact of the bad press on sugar detracting from their sales of coke!


Since most people don’t critically evaluate what they read in the news, people take such claims at face value and hence the notion that red wine is good for heart health is born.


A great book to read about the way research can be used to mislead us is ‘Bad Science’ by Ben Goldacre.



2. Ethanol is Toxic to Humans


Further research has tried to back up the claim that red wine is good for heart health, but in doing so I believe it has neglected to look at the negative effects of alcohol on other markers of health.


Ethanol, the part of red wine that we know of as alcohol, is implicated in many diseases including cancer. A European Study found that to remain within food standards to prevent against the risk of cancer, people should consume no more than 2 units of ethanol per year!


If you do an internet search on alcohol and health you will find far more studies showing the link between ill health and alcohol rather than alcohol and good health.


In the UK, alcohol was reported as the third leading cause of death and disability behind obesity and smoking.



3. You’re Better off with Fruit and Veg!


The part of red wine that is suggested to elicit positive outcomes for heart health comes from the fact that red wine is made from red or black grapes. In the nutrition world, often the darker in colour that a fruit or vegetable is, the more nutrient dense it is. Therefore, it makes sense that red wine would contain some nutrients and therefore a small degree of potential health benefit. However, it could be strongly argued that the ethanol content, the part that is poisonous to humans, is more of a risk than the benefit gained from getting nutrients from an alcoholic beverage.


Most adult humans in the UK do not consume the recommended 5 portions of fruit or veg per day (5 portions = 400 grams). It would therefore be far more advantageous to up fruit and veg intake without having the detrimental effect of ethanol in the mix.



4. The Stress-Alcohol Paradox

Another suggested benefit of alcohol is that it can help people feel as though they achieve a reduction in stress. Research tells us that being constantly awash with stress hormones is bad for our health and can lead to a wealth of ill health conditions including:

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Coronary Heart Disease

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Cancer


The thought is that alcohol’s inhibiting qualities on the central nervous system allows people to reduce the stress they feel and hence reduce the impact of the body’s stress response.


However, in order to elicit the same response from alcohol over time, we need to consume more of it. Alcohol is a stress to the body owing to the fact that it is a neurotoxin and the liver can only process about 1 unit of alcohol per hour. This means that the more alcohol is used to reduce stress, the more it actually increases stress within our system.


This is one of the paradoxical aspects of alcohol. Anyone who has used alcohol enough will be able to vouch for the increasing and overwhelming anxiety that alcohol consumption eventually brings on within us. Therefore, rendering this argument on stress reduction null and void.


Since alcohol is toxic to human health, it would be better to engage in emotional therapy to work through our stress and have daily mindful practices as well as eating a nutritious diet, getting suitable exercise and time outside in nature. These will all yield far more beneficial health results than alcohol would ever be able to afford us in respect of stress.



Conclusion

My recommendation is to go and read and do your own research on the subject. That way you can then begin to form you own opinions on alcohol and what you think of it in respect to your own health and wellbeing.


My own personal opinion is that alcohol is more destructive than it is health giving.


For health, I would start with:

  • eating 400-800grams veg and fruit per day

  • sleeping 7-9 hours per night

  • exercising regularly in a sensible manner

  • getting plenty of rest & relaxation

  • looking after your emotional health

I believe that if you get these ingredients into your life you will have no need or place for alcohol and this will provide you with the best chance of significantly reducing or avoiding your risk of preventable ill health.


In other words, I do not believe red wine is good for heart health since any potential positive benefit is negated by the breadth of the negative impacts of alcohol.

Day 25 - 365 Day Journal


Reflections


PTSD Symptom

Damn! Was doing so well but got triggered on Thursday afternoon! Ah well, so far it is mild and only mildly impacted sleep last night. I am looking forward to my next Internal Family Systems session as I think I have identified something I need to work through which may help me further reduce the PTSD symptom being activated.


Thursday Night

Things that were awesome today:

😀I really enjoyed taking the Women Together class tonight. I know it is not an easy discussion section for people, but I wholeheartedly believe in working on ourselves in order to live the most fulfilling life possible.


😀I have knocked another 55 seconds off the 2 mile run course I use for my aerobic run training at the same heart rate – that’s now 5 minutes and 32 seconds off since January!


Friday Morning

Things that I am grateful for:

I am grateful for a beautiful morning and the opportunity to cycle to a local park with a small lake. I love being outdoors in nature, there is something very calming about seeing beautiful sights and hearing the sounds of nature all around.




Health Dashboard

Caffeine, Alcohol & Alcohol Free Beverages

0











Fitness


Low Intensity

Run


Moderate Intensity

Indoor Row


Strength & Mobility

Cleans plus mobility and foam rolling




Veggies & Fruit

Turmeric

Cucumber

Kale

Spinach

Ginger

Red cabbage

Lettuce

Tomato

Pepper

Mushrooms

Avocado

Courgette

Meditation & Mindfulness


Morning – Silent meditation

Before bed – Guided meditation











Day 24 - 365 Day Journal


Reflections


PTSD Symptom

Nothing to report 😀


Wednesday Night

Things that were awesome today:

😀I really enjoyed all of my online 1-2-1 sessions today. I feel very lucky to have the clients that I do.


😀I achieved my fastest time at my aerobic heart rate over the 4 mile run course that I use. It felt great as well. I felt really springy with every step, I loved it!


Thursday Morning

Things that I am grateful for:

I am grateful for the opportunity to meditate outside in the garden with all of the spring blossom beginning to bloom.

Health Dashboard

Caffeine, Alcohol & Alcohol Free Beverages

0











Fitness


Low Intensity

Run


High Intensity

-


Strength & Mobility

Push and pull plus mobility and foam rolling



Veggies & Fruit

Turmeric

Cucumber

Kale

Spinach

Ginger

Red cabbage

Lettuce

Tomato

Pepper

Mushrooms

Avocado

Courgette

Meditation & Mindfulness


Morning – Silent meditation

Before bed – Guided meditation











Day 23 - 365 Day Journal


Reflections


PTSD Symptom

Nothing to report 😀


Tuesday Night

Things that were awesome today:

😀SURFING WAS AWESOME!!! First surf of 2021 after lockdown restrictions.


Last year I decided to get into surfing. I have wanted to learn to surf for a while.

I have had surf lessons in the past but after a few summers not getting to the beach, on 1st January 2020 I went for a New Year’s day dip in the sea order to set a commitment to myself to spend time at the beach in 2020.

(Picture 1st January 2020, Bournemouth)







I did then spend as much time as possible around work and lockdown restrictions at the beach. I began surf lessons in Perranporth and then at Croyde Bay and absolutely loved it. This was all with my ex-partner and so although I wanted to surf previously independently of her, I felt I needed to get back on the horse, so-to-speak, in order to disassociate surfing with her.


It worked! I had an amazing time! I was super lucky as I booked onto a group lesson but because on one else was booked on, I ended up having a one-to-one! 😀



Wednesday Morning

Things that I am grateful for:

My love of life and drive to seek the things that make me happy.

Health Dashboard

Caffeine, Alcohol & Alcohol Free Beverages

0











Fitness


Low Intensity

-


High Intensity

Indoor Row


Strength & Mobility

-



Veggies & Fruit


Red cabbage

Lettuce

Tomato

Pepper

Mushrooms

Avocado

Courgette Onion

Garlic




Meditation & Mindfulness


Before bed – Guided meditation













I ask all readers to be respectful. This is an honest and heart-felt account of the struggle I have incurred.


I thank you in advance for your respect and kindness and I encourage you to sign up to my mailing list so I can notify you about new blog updates.


If you are struggling with any of the issues raised in my blogs please get in touch. Your conversations with me will remain confidential. Please note that I am not a therapist but I can support you to find a way to address any issues you may be experiencing.





Copyright 2021 Val Craft – All Rights Reserved

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