Q: If someone has a problem with alcohol and cannot drink any alcohol, but thinks that he is missing a health benefit by not drinking a glass of wine a day, is there anything he or she can drink besides wine that could provide the unique health benefits of wine? And what about a non-alcoholic wine--does it have the same benefits? --Michael Ledner, Scottsdale, Arizona
A: R. Curtis Ellison, doctor and professor of medicine and public health at Boston University Medical School, responds:
"Anyone who has a problem with alcohol should not 'drink for their health.' There is no question that the alcohol itself is an important component of alcoholic beverages that contributes to health. Wine, however, has many other health-enhancing substances which can be found from other sources. For example, the polyphenols in wine--which serve as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, and have many other healthful effects--are also found in Concord grape juice and in berries of all types (blueberries are particularly high in these polyphenols), as well as in many other fruits and vegetables. Having lots of fruits and vegetables will provide this aspect of the protection attributed to wine, while avoiding the alcohol. De-alcoholized wine is another source. So do not worry about the alcoholic beverage aspect of a healthy lifestyle: being lean, getting exercise, not smoking, and eating a diet with lots of fruits and vegetables will go a long way."
Have a question about wine and healthy living? E-mail us.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions