Q: I usually have a glass or two of wine post-workout. Is this safe?
A: Jim White, registered dietician and spokesman, American Dietician Association, Washington, D.C., answers:
Research has determined that red wine is full of flavonoids, which are antioxidants that lower the risk of heart disease. However, even though wine proves to be benefical in moderation, I wouldn't advise it post-workout. When you exercise, your blood sugar levels are lowered. After a workout, your body is actively replacing the energy used, and glucose, body's fuel, is entering your muscles. Drinking wine, which contains around 10 to 13 percent alcohol, can interfere with the refueling of your muscles by stopping your liver from sending out any glucose. Alcohol delays recovery from exercise. On the plus side, studies have shown that the chemical found in wine called quercetin may help protect against influenza, especially after a rigorous, respiratory workout when the body is more susceptible to infection. With this said, I would still consume water and whole foods (a protein and carbohydrate combo) after your workout to rehydrate and refuel the body. If you still want the benefits of wine, keep your serving at dinner. Also, if you didn't want the extra calories in wine, but still wanted the benefits of quercetin, try eating foods such as apples, onions, tea, blueberries and cranberries.