Women and Wine: Red Rules

Women and Wine: Red Rules

Is there a more pleasurable way to cure your ailments, slender your thighs and enliven your libido? Recent studies suggest that drinking a glass of red wine a day is beneficial for women. But by how much does it really help?

“There are a number of studies that discuss the effects of red wine on women, but unfortunately some of these are conflicting,” says Dr. Jan Berger, MD, founder of the health consultancy firm Health Intelligence Partners. “The properties found within red wine when drunk in moderation have been shown to reduce heart disease and decrease the inflammation found within arthritis in women. And depending on the amount of wine consumption and the type of cancer, the drinking of red wine can decrease the rate of cancer,” he says.

In a recent study conducted by University of Missouri-Columbia, it was established that red wine contains compounds that help ward off pathogens known to cause food-borne illness. With wine’s combination of ethanol, low pH, and phytochemicals—such as resveratrol, which is also known for its antioxidant properties—strings of E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella can’t endure the chemical cocktail.

And for dieters, it gets even better. Consuming a glass of red wine before dinner may help shed a few pounds by increasing a woman’s sense of fullness. Dr. Berger warns however that “it can also hurt a weight loss program because the wine reduces the focus on appropriate eating.” In other words, after a little too much wine, the bag of potato chips may become irresistible.

Yet red wine’s remedial properties go beyond forestalling illness and aiding in weight loss—it may increase a woman’s libido. In 2009, a University of Florence study found sampled Italian women living in Tuscany to determine the effects red wine had on their sex drive. Doctors at the University of Florence recruited 800 women aged between 18 and 50, none of whom had reported a sexual health problem or drank more than two glasses of wine a day at the time of the study. The women were split into three groups: Those who regularly consumed one or two glasses of red wine a day, those who consumed less than one glass a day and those who abstained from drinking. In the end, the results suggested that the dinner table isn’t the only place for wine. Women who consumed one to two glasses of wine a day reported an enhanced sexual appetite and improved sexual performance.

Dr. Berger suggests that one reason this might be so: Consuming a glass of wine will diminish a woman’s stress level and increase her focus on her partner, ultimately creating a more intimate sexual experience. But can’t a Cosmopolitan do the same? According to Associated Content, the researchers from the University of Florence study believe certain chemical compounds in red wine that blood flow to one’s erogenous areas, ultimately causing an influx of sexual stimulation.

But imbibers beware: Before you load your wine rack with red varieties in hopes of strengthening your heart or luring out your inner sex goddess, Dr. Berger warns that the discussion from these surveys should be taken lightly.

"In the end, my advice is what I give in almost all areas of one’s life," says Dr. Berger. "Everything in moderation."

Published on May 24, 2011