Should You Drink Wine?

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Should You Drink Wine?

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Louis Pasteur reportedly said, "Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages" (Don Colbert, M.D., What Would Jesus Eat?, 2002, p. 131).

In recent years some physicians have touted wine as beneficial to health, particularly the circulatory system.

A 1992 report in the British medical journal Lancet stated: "The French consume approximately a third more fat, including saturated fats, than Americans. They smoke more than Americans and exercise very little. Yet they have one of the lowest heart attack rates in the world. They also have one of the lowest incidences of stroke. These scientists who took a look at the French way of life concluded that this low incidence of heart disease was due to the fact that the vast majority of people in France consume a moderate amount of red wine daily" (ibid., pp. 131-132).

Research into the effects that wine has on the body has produced some probable reasons for wine's ability to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular diseases. Resveratrol is a substance that occurs naturally in wine. "When wine ferments, the resveratrol level in the finished wine increases to a level high enough to have a pharmacological effect. Resveratrol in the human body appears to increase HDL levels while lowering overall cholesterol levels" (David Whitten, M.D., Ph.D., and Martin Lipp, M.D., To Your Health! Two Physicians Explore the Health Benefits of Wine, 1994, p. 40).

Wine also reduces the proclivity of platelets to stick together, which reduces the clotting factor in blood. Overactive platelets can form clots and block vessels in the heart or the brain, bringing on a heart attack or stroke.

According to the Bible, moderate consumption of wine can indeed provide health benefits (1 Timothy 5:23 1 Timothy 5:23Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your often infirmities.
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). The Bible also represents the moderate use of wine as a source of pleasure (Psalms 104:15 Psalms 104:15And wine that makes glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengthens man's heart.
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; Ecclesiastes 9:7 Ecclesiastes 9:7Go your way, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God now accepts your works.
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). It was often served at festive occasions such as weddings (John 2:1-10 John 2:1-10 [1] And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: [2] And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. [3] And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus said to him, They have no wine. [4] Jesus said to her, Woman, what have I to do with you? my hour is not yet come. [5] His mother said to the servants, Whatever he said to you, do it. [6] And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. [7] Jesus said to them, Fill the water pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. [8] And he said to them, Draw out now, and bear to the governor of the feast. And they bore it. [9] When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not from where it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, [10] And said to him, Every man at the beginning does set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but you have kept the good wine until now.
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), and a token sip of wine is commanded in the observance of Passover (Matthew 26:27-29 Matthew 26:27-29 [27] And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of it; [28] For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. [29] But I say to you, I will not drink from now on of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
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However, the Bible warns us about abusing alcohol (Proverbs 20:1 Proverbs 20:1Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
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; 23:29-35; Ephesians 5:18 Ephesians 5:18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
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). If abused, alcohol becomes a spiritual problem as well as a serious health hazard. One disease associated with alcohol abuse is cancer.

A noted nutritionist issued this precautionary comment: "... Alcohol is not a carcinogen, [but] it appears to act as a co-carcinogen, 'strengthening' other cancer-causing factors. Drinking can increase the risk of developing cancers of the mouth, esophagus, and other parts of the body, including possibly the breast, colon, and rectum. If you have a family history of cancer, if you smoke, if you consume a high-fat diet, or have any other risk factors for cancer, it is best to abstain" (Barry Fox, Ph.D., To Your Health: The Healing Power of Alcohol, 1997, p. 122).

Just what constitutes moderation in alcohol consumption? "The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines moderation in alcohol intake as no more than one drink per day in women and no more than two drinks per day in men" (Colbert, p. 137).

Many health professionals recommend that pregnant women or women considering pregnancy not drink at all. They also recommend abstinence for people with certain disorders, including liver disease, congestive heart failure and stomach ulcers.

Anyone unable to control the intake of alcoholic drinks should seek help for the problem, which may require abstaining from alcohol altogether. Alcohol addiction can bring inestimable damage to the afflicted and their families. GN