Catching a Cold? Open a Bottle of Wine

The downside of the holidays is that all the traveling, get-togethers, stress, and disruption from our day-to-day lives can make us more susceptible to catching a cold or bug.

But the upside is that a mug of mulled wine or spiked eggnog could have the power to keep those bugs at bay.

According a recent article in the New York Times, two major studies show that moderate drinking increases resistance to colds for everyone except smokers.

In fact, one large study in Spain showed that people who drank 8 to 14 glasses of wine per week, especially red wine, reduced their chance of catching a cold by as much as 60 percent.

On the other hand, if you already have a cold, researchers said that grandma's cold remedy — the one involving a hot toddy or a dash of whisky in hot tea — may not be a good idea.

The notion that alcohol in the bloodstream can kill germs seems to be an old wives tale. While alcohol may offer some short-term relief, it's more likely to dehydrate you and prolong symptoms.

Instead, scientists chalk up the power of red wine and spirits to the antioxidants that they often contain.

Makes sense, considering that we already know that dark chocolate can help prevent viruses.  So, by my logic, it stands to reason that a fruity cocktail might do the same. But then, that's just speculation from a mojito-loving layperson.

The bottom line, it seems, is that it's good for us to uncork some wine, bite into some chocolate and indulge (in moderation, of course) at cocktail parties and family gatherings.

For me, anyway, this news is sure to make the holidays even happier.

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