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Is Drinking Wine a Key to Antiaging?

Richard Baxter, MD, talks about the benefits of wine for your health and appearance.

What is your wine prescription for WebMD readers?

A glass a day and your skin will glow. As antiaging advice, this is as good as it gets.

Specifically, what benefits can a person expect if they follow your advice?

You will look better, your skin will glow, and you will live five years longer than a teetotaler. There are also good studies that show people who drink red wine on a regular basis have fewer actinic keratoses [precancerous skin lesions]. You will have a significantly lower risk of Alzheimer's disease, cancer, diabetes, and all of the things that go along with aging. People assume that drinking would decrease brainpower as you get old, but the most amazing thing is that regular wine drinkers have an 80% lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

What about people who can't consume alcohol?

People who can't drink wine should such look to other whole foods with polyphenols and antioxidants, like pomegranates and blueberries. Or go for dark chocolate. It does a lot of the same things as wine. Both dark chocolate and red wine have been shown to protect the skin from sun damage.

Will winemakers put plastic surgeons out of business?

No. It's an adjunctive thing.

There are some supplements out there that say they have the ingredients -- namely resveratrol -- that make red wine so healthy. Do they work?

The data is really minimal in terms of the effectiveness of resveratrol supplements. The jury is out about whether you get same benefits in a pill that you get with a glass of red wine.

What about skin creams with resveratrol?

This will be the next big thing in skin care. Stay tuned.

Are any wines better than others?

White wines do not have as many antioxidants as red wines. In terms of reds, it has more to do with the way the grapes are grown than the varieties of wine. Oregon pinot noirs tend to have higher levels of polyphenols and European wines tend to have more polyphenols than American wines, in general.

What type of wine do you drink?

I like all red wines, but I am really partial to Australian shiraz.

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