Benjamin Franklin, Red Wine & Good Health

“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”Benjamin Franklin

While Benjamin Franklin wasn’t a big drinker, he occasionally enjoyed wine and ale. Alcoholic beverages were the drink of choice in colonial America, much preferred over water. The reason why is explained in this excerpt from my new book, The Benjamin Franklin Diet.

“Because the water supply in Colonial America was sometimes unsafe and polluted, especially in densely populated cities, people drank large quantities of alcohol to quench their thirst. The first settlers drank water only when necessary, and when the tea and spirits from England ran out, people began distilling their own hard alcohol from the native Indian corn, as well as alcoholic cider from apples. Excessive drinking among the colonists was common. The custom grew even more popular when farmers began cultivating crops of malt and hops. Beer, cider, and rum were the most popular drinks among the populace, much preferred over milk and water. Most people believed that alcohol consumption was healthy and that the practice cured many common ailments. The trend of heavy drinking continued throughout the Revolutionary War and didn’t taper off for many years to come. In the late 1700s, a United States Government study showed that people over the age of fifteen consumed an annual average of thirty-four gallons of beer or cider, five gallons of distilled spirits, and one gallon of wine.”

While nearly everyone else in colonial America was walking around in a stupor, Benjamin Franklin was going about his business with a clear head. “Eat not to dullness, drink not to elevation,” he once said. In other words, have a drink for your health, but don’t get drunk. Or as the old saying goes, a little alcohol is medicinal, too much is poison. While Benjamin Franklin probably wasn’t aware of the benefits of small amounts of alcohol, he certainly enjoyed a lifetime of good health by practicing moderation in most everything he did, which included temperate alcohol consumption.

Studies show that a little alcohol every now and then can be beneficial to your health. Red wine contains melatonin, a naturally occurring chemical that promotes sleep. Also found in red wine is reservatrol, a compound that has been linked to longevity in animals and has been proven to reduce bad cholesterol and heart disease. And if that’s not enough good news, a recent study in a European university found that moderate drinkers of red wine had 44% fewer colds than those who abstained.

  • A 5-ounce ‘glass’ of red wine is also relatively low in calories with approximately 100 calories per glass.

Here’s to your good health. Cheers!

Kelly Wright, Author of The Benjamin Franklin Diet