An Interview With Mike (Michael) Asimos on Red Wine

Michael Asimos

Is Red Wine Really Good For Your Heart – Or Is It All A Myth?

In this interview we’ll discuss the benefits and potential setbacks of red wine for heart health.   We’ve been told all our lives in the media and health journals that red wine is incredibly beneficial for the heart.  However, new research suggests that we may have been marketed to and not told the real truth.  Read on to find out the best way to get the benefits of red wine without the negative side affects. 

Portland-based wine importer, exporter, and wholesaler, Michael (Mike) Asimos, is a wine aficionado to whom everything in the industry comes naturally. What started as a hobby has become a passionate career-move for Mike, and there’s no turning back for a man whose enthusiasm and zeal for wine is all encompassing.

Mike’s love for travel and fondness for wine go hand-in-hand. His travels often take him to luxurious wineries and bountiful vineyards in the most beautiful regions of the world. Paired particularly well with wine and travel, Mike nurtures a true enthusiasm for jazz music in all its lilting variants.

How did you get involved in the wine industry?

I have always had an interest in wine. It seems only natural that I should delve further into the industry. It’s been exciting to discover which grape variants produce which flavor profiles and to take my journey of discovery right through to wine pairings enjoyed by lovers of the beverage across the globe. When I reached a particularly poignant crossroad in my life, it became clear that I needed to take a step towards my true passion.

In what ways is red wine beneficial for heart health?

When consumed in moderation, red wine has been considered to be a heart healthy beverage.  The antioxidants found in wine are said to prevent coronary artery disease and, in doing so, reduce the risk of heart attacks.  The widespread theory is that antioxidants help to increase “good cholesterol” levels which in turn protect against a build-up of “bad cholesterol”.

Resveratrol, a key ingredient in red wine, may help to prevent damage to blood vessels and prevent blood clots. Additionally, resveratrol may also be linked to a lower risk of inflammation whist simultaneously preventing heart disease.  However, there’s much more research that needs to be done to back up these claims.

Is red wine actually good for us, or is this a myth that’s widely spread?

Previous research has shown that polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in the human heart.  According to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, consuming red wine in moderation could also lower the risk of type-2 diabetes. “Moderation”, in this case, refers to a small glass of red wine with dinner in the evening.  As in one glass; not multiple.  Although, if you’re a lover of the kind of red wine I source, that’s a tough task!

At the end of the study, researchers found that those who drank their nightly glass of red wine showed a significant increase in their levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol.  They also showed a marked drop in components of metabolic syndrome and enjoyed better quality of sleep.

According to a recent study by the UK government, however, drinking any amount of alcohol increases the risk of various types of cancer.  Additionally, it was reported that the benefits of moderate red wine consumption were likely only to be enjoyed by women over the age of 55.

pouring red wine

What are the real risks of red wine? Should we stop drinking it altogether?

Due to the fact that there is no standard drink definition, there is no true way to measure moderate alcohol consumption. Even small amounts of alcohol have the potential to disrupt sleeping patterns and cause major health issues when combined with certain medications, particularly anti-convulsants and anti-depressants.

Regular alcohol consumption can also lead to liver inflammation and scarring, as well as gastrointestinal diseases, colorectal cancer, oral cancer, and breast cancer. It is also true that alcohol has the potential to prevent weight loss for various reasons, not least of all because it helps to increase one’s appetite.

While it is not necessary to completely stop drinking red wine, it is suggested that the average person have at least 2 to 3 days of non-alcohol consumption per week.  As with anything, don’t over do it.  Wine is a luxury and should be treated and consumed as such.

What’s the best way to get the benefits of red wine without the risks associated?

There have been a few studies that suggest the alcohol content in red wine may actually be standing in the way of the polyphenols’ cardiovascular benefits.  Believe it or not, non-alcoholic red wine has been associated with a distinct decrease in blood pressure whilst also lowering the potential risk of heart disease and stroke.

It may not be what you want to hear but replacing alcoholic red wine with non-alcoholic variants may be the best way to enjoy a nightcap without worrying about any of the associated health risks at all.

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