There seems to be a hiccup these days on whether wine is beneficial to one’s health if drunk in moderation. With the government now cracking down on the quantity to be consumed of no more than 6 glasses a week, the guidelines tend to make a mockery of the whole issue. The government triggered off the controversy with these new alcohol guidelines in January, slashing the maximum weekly intake for men from 21 units to 14 – the same as for women. This is the equivalent of just under 6 standard glasses of wine.

However, a study has now found that those who drink up to a third of a bottle of wine – or two small glasses – with food every day suffer fewer illnesses and have a more positive outlook on life. They are less likely to binge drink and ‘should not be considered a risk,’ according to researchers from the Universities of Helsinki and Tampere in Finland.

Scientists tracked the alcohol consumption of 2,600 participants aged between 18 and 69 while also asking them to rate their self-esteem and health, both physical and mental. The 12 per cent who regularly have wine with their meal scored far higher on all three counts – even when other factors such as occupation, education and marital status were taken into consideration.

Both the timing of the drinking and the type of alcohol consumed were important, for those who drank wine away from the dinner table did not enjoy the same rewards in their health and well-being. In addition, hazardous habits could be predicted according to what and when people drank.

A quarter of those who mixed wine and beer at mealtimes were bingers while among people who had wine only and always with food, the proportion was just 8 per cent. The study – published in Alcohol and Alcoholism states: ‘This further confirms that those drinking only wine during meals should not be considered as a risk group on the population level.’

But the Mediterranean habit of enjoying a glass of wine or two with your evening meal could be the key to a happy, healthy life new research has deduced. So folks, get with the programme. Enjoy life, live precariously and dare to throw caution to the wind!

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