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SUNDAY SERENDIPITY
10/17/2010
Sunday Serendipity
Resveratrol—A Brief Critique by Matilde Parente

By Stephen Eliot

It has been nearly twenty years since the “French Paradox” reported on the CBS news program 60 Minutes and changed the way that we looked at wine. Could it be that there was a real, verifiable connection between moderate wine drinking and cardiac health? Did the consumption of wine somehow make up for the sins of indulging in butter, bacon, cream and the like? The facts looked like it might, and we hoped with all of our might that they did. Since then, there has been one medical finding after another that seems to affirm wine’s positive place in a healthful diet, and, as time has passed, wine has been cited as potentially preventing everything from cancer to cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s diseases. There remains plenty of debate in the medical community as to both the virtues and drawbacks of regular wine drinking, and there are a good many unanswered questions as to just what it is that is in wine that is responsible for its beneficial effects.

Now, we are not physicians, and we do not plan on pouring through the data produced by so many clinical studies. We would not claim to understand it even if we did. But like most who make fine wine and food a big part of their lives, we would like to know more on the topic than can be typically gleaned from the brief newspaper article, the audio soundbite or the single-screen internet snippet. We recently came across a brief little booklet that addresses the hows and whys with a little more detail and depth.  Resveratrol, authored by Matilde Parente, M.D. and published by Woodland Publishing is at one and the same time a succinct summary of what we know about some of wine’s healthy properties, and it provides a longer look at resveratrol, one of the more beneficial biochemicals found in wine. It is written for the informed lay person rather than a scientist, and it offers a balanced discussion of what we know, what we do not and what we might be close to discovering. At 40 pages, it is an easy read, but if it can be digested in one sitting, it made an indelible mark in my thinking and compels regular revisitation.

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