Wine & Music: A Winning Health Combination

It is easy to get confused these days between what is ‘healthy’ and what is ‘unhealthy’. With ever-changing slogans and catchphrases, and continuously shifting media featuring the newest health craze, one can never really tell what is truly beneficial for maintaining good health and preventing disease. You may think you are making the right choices when it comes to your health, but how can you be sure?

The fact of the matter is that our bodies require essential nutrients to maintain good health and decrease the risk of chronic disease. This, along with physical as well as brain exercise, is the key to health and longevity.

The risks and rewards of drinking wine have been a hot topic. So, just what is true and what is not?  Researchers have found that wine contains certain antioxidants shown to fight infection and protect cells against the effects of free radicals, which may play a role in cancer and other diseases. Antioxidants benefit the body by neutralizing and removing the free radicals from the bloodstream.

The human body naturally produces free radicals, and the antioxidants to counteract their damaging effects. Additionally, environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and herbicides also spawn free radicals. However, in most cases, free radicals far outnumber the naturally occurring antioxidants. Red grapes used to make wine contain resveratrol, a polyphenol compound with antioxidant properties, which researchers have found protects against common free radical damage. So it seems there are benefits of drinking red wine.

New York’s Litwin-Zucker Research Center for the Study of Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders researchers have also found that resveratrol keeps the brain sharp. Additionally, researchers at The University of Virginia have found that it can inhibit the key action of a cancer-feeding protein. Drinking red wine can also have a significant effect on lowering cholesterol levels and heart health, thanks to another antioxidant in red wine called polyphenols.

However, fueling our bodies with the appropriate vitamins and nutrients is just one part of the equation. Doctors and scientists also emphasize the importance of brain health, along with physical health, in order for individuals to live active, fulfilling and independent lives.

Maintaining meaningful social connections, memory improvement, and practicing a healthy lifestyle are a few very beneficial ways to improve brain health. Music is an ideal brain exercise that incorporates all of these elements, not to mention, it activates every known part of the brain. Listening and playing music has many health benefits, including reducing stress, improving mood, and stimulating the formation of certain brain chemicals, such as oxytocin and the brain’s “motivation molecule” dopamine.

So the next time you enjoy that glass of wine with friends, with mood music playing in the background, know that you are positively attributing to your health. Cheers to that!

Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 5:30 – 9:00 p.m. The Merion hosts “Wine and Live Music at the JEM Dining ” to entertain residents (and keep them healthy).