Q: I suffer from chronic arthritis in my hands. Can a daily glass of wine help reduce inflammation? What are the safest wineglasses for me to use?—Gloria, Atlanta, Ga.
A: Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints, often causing pain, swelling and a reduced range of motion that can worsen with age. There are several anti-inflammatory treatments for the disease, and recent research suggests that resveratrol, an antioxidant found in wine, may help reduce arthritis-related inflammation.
"Based on our current understanding, it is possible that a daily glass of red wine could help reduce arthritis-related inflammation," Dr. Matthew Taylor, professor of dietetics and nutrition at the University of Kansas Medical Center told Wine Spectator. "But because alcohol can make arthritis symptoms worse, drinking a larger amount might counteract these benefits."
Dr. Taylor says that more study is needed before wine consumption can be definitively linked with arthritis relief, but the decades of research on wine's antioxidant properties is promising. He suggests moderate consumption of red wine, or white wines made with skin contact, also known as "orange wines," since resveratrol is most abundant in the grape skins and seeds.
As for easing any difficulty you have holding delicate wineglasses, some suggest holding the bowl of the glass with both hands for more stability, and stemless glasses are quite popular. Dr. Taylor recommends shatter-resistant wineglasses like Schott-Zwiesel's Tritan series. Also remember that wine is best consumed in whatever way makes you most comfortable, so if you're more at ease drinking wine out of a water glass, or with a straw, or out of a squeeze bottle, go for it—there aren't any rules.
Consult your personal physician before incorporating wine as part of an anti-inflammatory diet.