When I was ill in my twenties, at one time my goal was to get better so “I could drink beer again”. A bit of a shallow statement but what it really meant was ‘I want to have my life back and be able to enjoy life.
I had a mix of health issues and serious depression from chronic pain and fatigue was almost a constant for a few years.
I thought of suicide off and on as a general rule and researched many ways to off myself. I wanted to put an end to what I felt was a useless, non-productive existence; and no fun. Suffering in its many guises is rarely fun. I was diagnosed Manic Depressive at the age of 19 and of course this was a large contributing factor. It is an illness that includes serious depressive episodes.
Some respond to treatment with psychotropic medications. I – oh lucky me – was pretty much medication-resistant… they only made me worse. So I found other ways to try and survive and feel better. Enter in red wine. Wine became a part of that need to self-medicate when there were no effective treatments for my version of chronic illness.
No, not to die, but to eventually recover my health and have some fun, beer drinking included. Wine too. I also finished my college degree, gave birth to a beautiful, brilliant child and finally worked some decent professional jobs with decent pay.
Twenty years later I am still a regular drinker, only recently giving up beer (too hard to keep the weight off and has few health benefits), then off all alcohol for a couple months.
Wow. My farily stable ‘yet deal with chronic issues, primarily fatigue’ health status took a nose dive. First a big increase in fatigue, then pain from muscle spasms in my cheek that had me almost crying by around 7 p.m.
I was mugged years ago and my body still shows signs of the assault – the official diagnosis is Fibromyalgia. Still I didn’t go back to the wine, took it as a challenge to work out in other ways.
I researched much as to what may have caused the change. Stopping drinking was not a huge deal and I liked the extra couple hundred bucks in my pocket.
What did I come up with? I finally just said I was going to drink wine again, and the heck with everything else. It was helping my bipolar illness, my sleep patterns and a chronic pain condition.
Why does it help? Wine has antioxidants, melatonin (for deep sleep) and of course relaxes the muscles which was keeping muscle spasms at bay it seems.
One health component of red wine – resveratrol – has been isolated and studied for its health benefits. Before I decided to go back to the real stuff, I bought some of it as a supplement and took daily, yet noticed no effect whatsoever.
If you cannot drink alcohol and want to get some of the identified health benefits found in red wine then you can purchase – very cheaply – the natural supplement resveratrol. It is one of many antioxidants in red wine that as a group are called ‘polyphenols’.
Quoted from a Mayo Clinic.org online article “Red wine and Resveratrol: Good for your Heart?“:
“Resveratrol might be a key ingredient in red wine that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and prevents blood clots.”
I am sure when I was taking the supplement instead of drinking wine my body was getting some positive effect, but just not the effect I was used to and needed. Not to mention I enjoy the relaxation response and slight euphoric feeling that comes with drinking the real stuff; and see no harm in that.
Red wine contains tannins, also, which have strong anti-fungal properties.
Yeast infections used to be constant for me, and getting my gut in better shape a large part of my return to health years ago. Being able to tolerate red wine while having it actually deliver health benefits makes more sense when I learned this.
It was a bit of an ‘aha’ moment.
There are many proven health benefits of red wine, as long as you don’t overinldulge, it can help improve and protect your health.