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Age Gets Better With Wine

The second edition of Age Gets Better With Wine by Richard A. Baxter, M.D., published in 2009, is the most comprehensive volume available on the potential health benefits of alcohol, wine and wine compounds. Confronted by a complex subject with an ever increasing number of peer-reviewed publications appearing each year, the author adroitly assembles the science in an orderly and well-referenced time line to allow the inquisitive reader a perspective on the issue and a realization of how we have arrived at our current level of understanding.

Baxter accurately and clearly deciphers the scientific jargon, explaining terminology like methylation, free radicals, antioxidants, COX inhibition, cohorts and so forth, in such a fashion that the reader without a medical or scientific background can read along comfortably. An extensive glossary of terms is also included. Baxter is also particularly adept at explaining wine polyphenols and their range of potential physiologic actions including anti-aging, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anticoagulation capabilities. He devotes an entire chapter to the most studied polyphenol, resveratrol. For those opposed to drinking alcoholic beverages or unable to drink alcohol due to health issues, alternative dietary sources of polyphenols are also discussed such as cocoa, tea, and coffee.

Historical quotes regarding wine and health precede and end each chapter, and appropriate graphs, summary tables, and illustrations reinforce the discussion. I love the quote from Abraham Lincoln: “It has long been recognized that the problems with alcohol relate not to the use of a bad thing, but to the abuse of a very good thing.”

Because of the rapidly evolving knowledge about health benefits of alcohol, wine and wine compounds, this book is understandably a few years behind in relating the newest research. Nevertheless, the landmark scientific studies published over the last 40 years that are referenced in this book are still relevant to our widely held belief today that wine in moderation is good for our health. Baxter advises readers to consult the latest developments in wine and health related matters at his blog: www.healthandwine.blogspot.com. His latest post is on wine and breast cancer, emphasizing to women “The smart choice favors having a glass of wine with dinner and not stressing over it.”

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