Thursday, March 21, 2013

Allergies and Wine

Yesterday was the first official day of Spring even though it didn't feel that way. I'm still hopeful that warm weather is just on the horizon. Any day now, flowers will be blossoming, birds chirping, and of course wine flowing. I'm eager to pack my picnic basket and take in all the sites and sounds of wineries awakening from a cold winter. However, I want to take a moment to let you all know about a sad situation, that you may find yourself in as well. If you're like me, you suffer from seasonal allergies. Yes, sneezing, running nose, itchy eyes, stuffy head, I have all the symptoms. I take medicine, but they never work as well as I would hope. Going to wineries in the spring is a love/hate situation. I love getting out of the house after being cooped up all winter and rolling on the hills of a winery after a few bottle of Vignoles or Tramminetter, but I hate feeling like crap and having a pocket full of tissues and poofy, watery eyes.

And here's an extra dose of knowledge that some of you may not know about when you're out at the wineries, the pollen isn't the only thing triggering your allergies. The wine itself could be adding to your misery. Yes, the wine is an enemy for people with allergies. It's hard to accept, but it's been proven. The histamines in wine (and alcohol in general) worsens allergies. Histamines are produced in wine and beer during the fermentation process. And if that isn't enough, the sulfites in beer and wine also provoke asthma and other allergy-like symptoms. One more fun fact, women are affected by this 3 times more than men. On the brighter side, if you don't suffer from seasonal allergies, the sulfates and histamines in wine should have no effect on you!

Of course there is some controversy about the idea that wine increases allergies symptoms  I live it, so I feel comfortable agreeing with the studies. I did find one study that encourages drinking more RED wine during seasonal allergies. Red wine is high in quercetin, an antioxidant that reduces the amount of histamine the body releases. Since I'm not going to let allergies stop my wine drinking this spring, I will be sticking to red wine and popping allergies pill regularly. I don't want to discourage anyone from heading to the wineries this spring. I just want you to be aware of what you're getting yourself into and advise you to bring extra tissue! Happy wine trailing!

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