Planting For The Future – April 2009

Planting For The Future

By Judy Baehr

Drinking for Your Health


acaCool salads of fresh organic vegetables grown locally by ACÁ make great meals this time of year. Many of us enjoy our salads accompanied by a glass of wine, and we’ve heard red wine is particularly beneficial.

Unfortunately, the most common cause of ordinary hypertension (high blood pressure), according to the American Heart Association, is imbibing three or more alcoholic drinks a day. What’s more, people who already have high blood pressure (like me) should limit their consumption to one 4-ounce glass a day. One alcoholic drink dilates the blood vessels, reducing the amount of work the heart has to do; but after two drinks, the heart rate and other factors increase, counteracting the possibly beneficial effect of the first drink. Going by the “one drink a day” recommendation, I am on my one glass of wine for August 8, 2012.

Even more alarming is the recent British study concluding that just one drink a day causes an extra 7,000 cancer cases, mostly breast cancer, in UK women each year. A study by France’s National Cancer Institute found that drinking just a small glass of wine a day can more than double the risk of certain types of cancer. Unlike with vegetables, it appears that five servings of alcohol a day are NOT the minimum daily requirement.

On the other hand, researchers say that red wine is a good source of resveratrol, a compound that appears to protect against many of the health ravages of getting old. In a recent study, daily consumption of this compound improved the quality of life of middle-aged mice, although it did not make them live longer. (By the way, researchers saw the same effect in mice who reduced their caloric intake, but you don’t want to hear about that, do you?)

In another study in King County, Washington, men who drank red wine had a 24% reduction in their risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. What’s more, the study showed there was a 6% decrease in risk for every two ounces of red wine consumed a week! This well-known study is highly regarded by doctors, vintners and wine drinkers. Interestingly, the resveratrol is concentrated in grape skins and is produced by a fungus that grows on grapes; the level is higher in rainier years. Thus, those who can’t drink red wine may want to try damp grapes with fungus.

The BBC reports that every man and woman over 16 in Scotland is downing an average of 23 units of alcohol a week. Previously, secret drinks industry statistics recently released to the Scottish government have proved the entire nation is effectively over the limit. (I put that in to make you feel better.)

Please join the ACA Eco Talks Tuesdays from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the Lake Chapala Society. (Sorry, no red wine served!) April 7: Sow and Grow, a hands-on workshop with ACA founder and horticulturalist Marie Pruden. April 14: Why Go Native with Jose Melendrez. April 15: Abastos Trip, bus departs the Auditorium at 9:00 a.m., pre-register at April 21, Spring Fling and Lily Sale at the Farm. April 28, Hot Herbs that Beat the Heat, Wendee Hill. April 30, Food Workshop on Indigenous Cooking with Jose Melendrez at the ACA Eco Center. For more information, email

Find ACÁ’s Great Greens daily at the Lake Chapala Society or stop at the ACÁ demonstration farm and Eco Center in Jaltepec (M-F 9-5, Sat 9-1).

For more information about Lake Chapala visit:

Ojo Del Lago
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