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Wine Drinkers Eat Healthier Foods Than Beer Drinkers

Copyright 2006 Daily News Central

Drinking wine is believed to provide greater health benefits than drinking beer. The additional benefits may be due in part to an associated healthier diet, researchers theorize.

Wine drinkers eat more olives, fresh fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy products, poultry and lean cuts of meat, according to a recent study. Beer drinkers were found to eat more pre-cooked packaged foods, sugar, chips, soft-drinks, cold cuts, sausages and fattier cuts of meat.

Shopping Habits Studied

Food and alcohol shopping habits were investigated by a team from the National Institute of Public Health in Denmark. Researchers analyzed 3.5 million transactions, chosen at random from 98 outlets of two major Danish supermarket chains over a six month period. They evaluated the link between the purchase of beer and wine together with various food items.

Customers were categorized as "wine only," "beer only," "mixed," or "non-alcohol" buyers. Details of items bought, the number and price of the items, and the total charge for each customer's transaction were recorded.

Wine Buyers Purchase Healthier Foods

The results indicate that people who buy and presumably drink wine purchase a greater number of healthy food items than those who buy beer, according to the authors. Wine buyers purchased more fresh, low-fat foods, while beer buyers bought more processed, high-fat foods.

The study results also support findings from the United States and France that indicate wine drinkers tend to eat more fruit, vegetables and fish -- and less saturated fat -- than persons who prefer other alcoholic drinks.

Other Lifestyle Factors

The health benefits of drinking wine may be due to a combination of specific substances in wine and different characteristics of people, researchers add.

Thus, it is crucial that studies on the relationship between alcohol intake and mortality adjust for other lifestyle factors besides eating habits, including drinking patterns, smoking, physical activity, education and income.

The Meditteranean Diet

If you want to enjoy a longer life, eat a Mediterranean diet: lots of vegetables, legumes, fruits and cereals, along with plenty of fish. Keep your intake of saturated fats low but your consumption of olive oil high. Avoid dairy products and meat -- and enjoy that glass of wine now and then.

Elderly Europeans who eat that way enjoy longer life expectancy, according to another study published online by the BMJ last year. The evidence suggests that such a diet may be beneficial to health.

Lower Death Rate

That study involved over 74,000 healthy men and women, aged 60 or more, living in nine European countries. Information on diet, lifestyle, medical history, smoking, physical activity levels and other relevant factors was recorded. Adherence to a modified Mediterranean diet was measured using a recognized scoring scale.

A higher dietary score was associated with a lower overall death rate. A two point increase corresponded to an 8 percent reduction in mortality, while a three or four point increase was associated with a reduction of total mortality by 11 percent or 14 percent respectively.

So, for example, a healthy man aged 60 who adheres well to the diet (dietary score of 6-9) can expect to live about one year longer than a man of the same age who does not adhere to the diet.

Plant Foods, Unsaturated Fats

The association was strongest in Greece and Spain, probably because people in those countries follow a genuinely Mediterranean diet, according to the authors.

Adherence to a Mediterranean-type diet, which relies on plant foods and unsaturated fats, is associated with a significantly longer life expectancy, and may be particularly appropriate for elderly people, who represent a rapidly increasing group in Europe, they concluded.

About the Author

Rita Jenkins is a health journalist for Daily News Central, an online publication that delivers breaking news and reliable health information to consumers, healthcare providers and industry professionals:

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7:29 AM

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Provence - A Wine Lover's Dream Come True!

Provence is often overlooked by companies that offer traditional wine tasting tours, in spite of the excellence of its wines. If you're a true wine lover and wine fan, this beautiful location in France offers the most fascinating scenery and, not to mention, some of the best vineyards around.

In Provence, as everywhere in the Mediterranean, you'll find the people full of warmth, spontaneity and a "joie de vivre". As you will soon discover, any of these master oenologists (winemakers) will be delighted to introduce you to the wines they have become famous for; and share a little of the region's history with you.

In Provence your days will be filled with sunshine and warmth, and lush nights, scented with jasmine, lavender and wild thyme - whether you stay in a bustling, crowded metropolis with all the modern conveniences, or a turn-of-the-century country guest house filled with 17th and 18th century antiques.

However, little do outsiders know that winemaking in Provence is a serious business. Many of the winegrowers here have won the rights to include the prestigious "AOC" designation (Appellation d'Origine Controlee) on their bottles of wines. This label assures the buyer of a guaranteed vintage from the designated region. In order to win the right to become designated as an appellation wine, winegrowers much pass rigorous tests and inspections.

If you are thinking of traveling to the south of France in the near future, think about including a trip to one of the vineyards of the 60 winegrowers in the "Cotes de Provence" region. A small, yet beautiful area, it takes in the departments of the Var and part of the Bouches-du-Rhone.

Located in the heart of Provence's winemaking region, the "Maison des Cotes de Provence" boasts an outstanding selection of appellation wines. The Cotes de Provence winegrowers are experts in utilizing traditional methods when harvesting and bottling their wines. Their deep respect for the soil, the climate and the different varieties of grapes they use comes through in the quality and taste of each bottle.

During your visit to Provence, you can also arrange to take a wine tasting course at one of the vineyards where you will learn a complete understanding of wine: its robe (color), its bouquet (perfume), its body (strength) and everything you need to know about service, conservation and more. Not only will you be able to taste the finest wines, but you will also learn invaluable winemaking tips you can't learn elsewhere.

For the true wine lover, Provence is definitely a place to visit - both for the fantastic wines and unforgettable scenery!

About the Author

Mark Anthony is an avid wine lover. He owns a number of wine-related sites, including French Wine Secrets, Italian Wine Secrets and Napa Wine Secrets.

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