Wine’s Relaxing Properties

Woman drinking wine

Man’s love affair with wine goes way back. In the 1700’s,  Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying, “The discovery of a wine is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation.  The Universe is too full of stars.”

Although, other beverages are celebrated,  it seems that wine has a meaningfulness  that other drinks don’t.  Wine is a drink that turns an evening into an occasion and is also the drink of passion and philosophical conversation.

Some attribute the relaxing power of wine to its alcohol content.  Indeed many people believe that wine has just the right amount of alcohol to loosen our tongues without the more undesirable effects of stronger alcoholic products, and this is true to a point.  The alcohol content of wine is indeed a bit lower than that of beer and other liquors,” just the right amount to make you tipsy.”  But let’s consider some other causes.

Social Effects
You’re at a party, you don’t know to many people, you’re still a little wound up from a busy day and you’re  feeling sort of invisible. You go to the bar and get yourself a glass of wine.  About halfway through the glass, you begin to perk up.  You start checking out the people at the party.  That guy in the glasses is pretty cute.  You blush. He walks over.  You can fill in the rest.  What happened? What is in this miraculous potion and how did it make my night 10x better?

Wine works in part as a muscle  relaxant.  As the facial muscles loosen, our pupils dilate, causing us to react positively, especially to a partner.  Apparently, not only do dilated pupils show a positive response in someone, they  also make them more appealing to look at.  (Dilated pupils, who would have thought it?) According to a study by the University of Bristol, sober people rated wine drinkers before and after a drinking.   The results showed that people’s looks seem to improve after they consume the grape liquid. The ratings were higher for the post wine drinkers. The natural blush that comes with wine may increase the attractiveness  factor.  But, before you guzzle the whole bottle, hoping to turn into Megan Fox, note that researchers do warn that more than one glass causes the opposite effect, so keep it down to one!

The Great Unwind
Let’s try another scenario.  Tensions are high at work.  Deadlines are mounting and the pressure is on.  By the time you get home, you are abuzz with nervous energy.  You need to take your mind off work or you fear you are headed for a sleepless night.  A sleepless night equals an unproductive day.  Just the thought of not being able to sleep adds to your stress.  You go for the Moscato.  Minutes later, you are miles away.  You can handle it whatever they throw at you.  Piece of cake.  You have it all figured out.  You will sleep tonight.

Wine calms your nervous and has positive effect on your sleep, if you make sure not to drink it too close to bedtime or to overdo it. David L. Katz of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center says, “One glass of wine at dinner is apt to have a calming effect without impairing sleep.” But drinking more can affect your metabolism, so net affect  can be negative if the drinking occurs too close to bedtime.

The Melatonin Factor (red wine only)
Did you know that grape skins, which are removed in making white wine, are full of melatonin?  You may have heard of melatonin being used as a healthy alternative to sleeping pills.  Melatonin is the hormone that regulates our body clocks and tells us when to go to bed.  According to researcher Dr. Marcello Iriti, the melatonin content in wine could help keep out circadian rhythms in check. The most melatonin enriched wines include Merlot, Cabernet and Chianti.

So, here’s to you!  But keep it classy!  One glass will do the trick!

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