Almost all studies on wine and health during the last 27 years have shown that red wine is beneficial for the heart and has anti-ageing properties if taken regularly and in moderation. However, women are susceptible to breast cancer with 10% increase with even 1 glass and 30% for 2 as is generally the verdict of many studies and doctors recommend an intake of folates to reduce this chance to almost nil.
Dr. Richard in his book ‘Age gets better with wine’ published in 2010 and reviewed by delWine, had conceded that based on the studies undertaken there was an increased risk of developing breast cancer of 10-30% in post menstrual women. But it measured against the decreased odds of heart attack and stroke in the range of 30-40%. Potential benefits in terms of diabetes, osteoporosis, gallstones and Alzheimer’s disease and general health showed a net gain. He suggested that the negative effects could be taken care of by taking a healthy diet and adequate B vitamins.
One study even found that those who had less than one drink a day (14gms alcohol) had a 7% increased risk for breast cancer compared to those who did not drink at all. Two drinks a day increased the risk by 32% (28gms of alcohol). Women who drank three or more glasses of alcohol each day had a 51% higher risk.
I mentioned in an earlier Blog last year about experts expressing one apprehension at various health conferences I have attended and subsequent studies seem to confirm that even one glass of red wine for women increases the risk of breast cancer by 10% and rises exponentially with more glasses. Women are advised to take folates regularly if they drink more than one glass of wine.
Now a new study, the findings of which were published in the journal ‘Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention’ recently suggests that women have more things to worry about than a glass or two of wine or other alcohol. Teenagers who consume a diet low in vegetables and high in sugar-sweetened and diet colas may be at increased risk for pre-menopausal breast cancer, warns the study, says the news report published by IANS.
"Our results suggest that a habitual diet that promotes chronic inflammation when consumed during adolescence or early adulthood may indeed increase the risk of breast cancer in younger women before menopause," says Karin Michels, Professor at University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health.
A diet low in vegetables and high in sugar-sweetened and diet soft drinks, refined sugars and carbohydrates, red and processed meats, and margarine has been linked to high levels of inflammatory markers in the blood, said Karin.
Michels and her colleagues used data from 45,204 women enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study II, who had completed a food frequency questionnaire in 1998, when they were between ages 33-52, about their diet during high school. Adult diet was assessed first using a food frequency questionnaire in 1991, when participants were ages 27-44, and then every four years after that. Each woman's diet was given an inflammatory score using a method previously developed that links diet with inflammatory markers in the blood.
During 22 years of follow-up, 870 of the women who completed the high school food frequency questionnaire were diagnosed with pre-menopausal breast cancer and 490 were diagnosed with post-menopausal breast cancer.
When women were divided into five groups based on the inflammatory score of their adolescent diet, those in the highest score group had a 35 per cent higher risk for pre-menopausal breast cancer relative to those in the lowest score group. When the same analysis was done based on early adulthood diet, those in the highest inflammatory score group had a 41 per cent higher risk for pre-menopausal breast cancer relative to those in the lowest score group.
Should you have a glass or two of red wine with food daily...or rather drink coke and eat processed meat products and suffer the consequences later is for you to decide! It would appear that in the practical world where we are constantly bombarded with cancer causing food products, you as a woman might as well have a glass or two of wine. Daily dose of folates as advised by your doctor might help.
Of course, you could always move to the Himalayas where the air is not polluted and hopefully organic foods would keep you breast-cancer free. But we strongly urge you to consult your evolved doctor for her or his advice on the subject.