Wine as wintertime echinacea

echinacea herbal remedy natural plants medicinal holistic healing and preventive medicineYesterday I counted down the final minutes of winter. Normally, I am not someone who engages in any kind of rite of spring. But for me, this year's vernal equinox marked more than just a seasonal observance. I've made it through the entire season without one single cold or winter flu!

I keep records on wine, not on sniffles, however this streak of good luck makes me want to crunch numbers. I can say that if ever there was a time for me to be bedridden it would have been the winter of 2005/06. All my coworkers suffered immensely with something, in many cases the "worst most persistent" cold in their adult lives. I thank them for staying home when their contagion was at a peak. Beyond that, I seemed to have developed a knack for interpreting pre-sneeze body language, honed skills towards impeccable hand-washing, and oh yeah, had a drink every day.

Yes, a drink a day. Why not? After all, this is a wine blog here. I didn't set out to string together day-after-day of wine consumption at the time I started this blog last year. It just sort of happened. I guess this blog has made me realize a personal best in terms of number of glasses of wine drunk (whether it has met its potential in terms of worthwhile wine writing, valuable tasting notes and useful cellar records, I leave that to the reader to decide).

My friend Johanna calls all of my wine-drinking something else: Self-taught immunity. She suspects that my cold-free winter has something to do with the daily doses of wine I've been administering myself. The alcohol in wine is enough to kill off a lot of pesky germs, or something like that. Could be true I suppose. In the end, I'm just glad that a sore throat or stuffed up nose -- two of the worst enemies of civilized wine drinking -- didn't interfere with my duties or (what-has-turned-into) my everyday enjoyment of wine.

Okay, so with that, I now leave you and the lab coats to ponder over my personal stats.

Wine has been coursing through my blood for:

  • 121 consecutive days

    That's 17 weeks, more than an entire season, or exactly 4 months to the day as of yesterday (Hey Hope Springs Eternal! Happy fourth-month anniversary to me!)

  • 82 blog entries

    That's 885 paragraphs 37,000 words, or 174,207 characters -- 211,368 characters if you count the spaces!

  • Roughly ten Friday night round robin tournaments at Tomlinson Fieldhouse


Jathan said...

Gotta love those polyphenols!

g58 said...

Maybe not polyphenols, but upon further research, flavonoids!

"A study done by Spanish researchers has concluded that consumption of wine can reduce the chance of catching cold by upto 40%. A team of doctors from the University of Santiago de Compostela, University Hospital of Canary Islands and Dr. Miguel Harnan of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston studied 4,272 teachers in five universities for one year. Common cold conditions like sneezing, sore throat, running nose, cough and cold headaches were regularly logged by all the males and females.The study indicated that the people who drank a daily average of more than 2 glasses of wine experienced 40% reduction compared to those who did not drink any alcohol.

I clipped this from a some forum message board of unknown worth. Then I found what seems to be the same study referenced to on J Russell's Health, which is much more skeptical:

"There has been much misinformation about the use of alcohol being 'good medicine' for a cold. For example, when reporting on a recent Spanish study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the media's headlines stated that the use of wine could be helpful for a reduction in the risks of colds. Yet a closer look at this study shows: the researchers suggested that the benefit could be the flavonoids (the grapes in the red wine). Earlier research had shown that flavonoids fight the rhinovirus, a common cause of colds. Even the researchers were surprised by this study's outcome because of the previous studies showing that alcoholic beverages lowered immunity. There was no information about who sponsored this study. There was no mention of the apparent benefits of wine having been due to: (1) healthier lifestyles of the wine drinkers; (2) individuals who had a cold or suffered from some chronic respiratory disease having been culled from the study; and (3), no balance in reporting the resulting dangers of this same amount of (moderate/heavy) alcohol use that was used in the study. This media report irresponsibly encourages the public to drink wine."

So I guess we'll have to initiate an Internet poll and get a bunch of winebloggers to participate. We could try and gauge people's health habits and then ask them about their wine consumption and recent cold encounters.

Collin C. said...

Interweb-poll this....Studies are frikkin' lame-o.

We are both living proof that wine rocks the immune system like a 4 armed DJ rocks the party.