In 1 Timothy 5:23 (Holy Bible), Paul urged his understudy, Timothy, to “use a little wine,” there is much debate about the idea. Some say Paul was speaking of non-alcoholic wine. Some say not. Our focus isn’t on whether Paul was encouraging Timothy to drink alcohol – but on why he would make this recommendation in the first place.
Timothy, said Paul, suffered from “frequent illnesses.” What does drinking wine have to do with regaining one’s gut health?
Wine – the oldest known medicine
The Oxford Companion to Wine says the use of wine as a medicinal for gut health runs the gamut of recorded human history. Wine has been used, since ancient times, as both a medicine for the stomach and as a beverage central to celebration. (Come to think of it, if you have good health – you have plenty to celebrate!)
While wine is no longer used in traditional medicine, a physician may recommend a glass of wine each day as part of a health-promoting diet. Numerous scientific research studies point to the potential benefits from the moderate use of antioxidant-rich wine.
Wine is good for the gut. Paul, it would seem, wasn’t talking about getting drunk on wine. Rather, he urged Timothy to consider the beverage as essential to intestinal health.
Wine as a source of probiotics
Our primary interest in the subject concerns the reference to stomach (gut) health. Elsewhere on this website, we have spoken about gut flora and the immense importance intestinal health plays in overall wellness.
Wine, because it is a fermented beverage, can help restore balance to the intestinal tract by introducing beneficial bacteria to your gut. Other probiotic foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kefir, unpasteurized milk, and kombucha. While these foods are still popularly used, the health-giving properties of most probiotics have been diminished or destroyed by modern food processing methods.
Wine has traditionally been made from grapes, pure water, and nothing else. Today’s wines generally contain preservatives and the grapes most likely contaminated by pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides. I don’t know whether Paul would recommend many of today’s wines to Timothy or not. As with anything else: Read the label and buy organic.
Do Dr. Haley and Aloe 1 advocate wine drinking?
We advocate health, not wine. Our desire is to see you get and stay well – to do whatever best suits your body, your situation, and your own beliefs. For those who do not suffer from alcohol addiction and have no religious mandates that would prohibit the use of wine, moderate wine drinking (one or two glasses per day) can be beneficial, according to the bulk of research findings.
Like Aloe vera, wine has been used medicinally for thousands of years. We certainly believe probiotics are essential to your gut health — and red wine, especially, can be an excellent source of probiotics — but it is entirely possible to obtain ample probiotics without drinking wine.
The very best source of probiotic foods for gut health
Given the degradation of probiotic properties that occurs in food processing, the very best way to enjoy the benefits of cultured foods is to make your own foods. And while that may sound absurd today, most people “put away” their own sauerkraut, kimchi, and enjoyed non-pasteurized (raw) milk and cheese, just a few generations ago. Many also crushed their own grapes and produced their own wine.
For those unable to generate their own foods, we recommend sourcing as much as possible from local and organic producers. If you want healthy foods, then you should support those who produce healthy foods.
Listen: your health is critical. Never sacrifice health for money. Never. If those organic grapes cost a little more … then, so be it. Better to invest more money than to save money and ingest the insecticides and pesticides with which non-organic foods are often contaminated.
In our work with people who are battling chronic health conditions, we see many people continue to suffer without even attempting change. The potential benefits they could realize from drinking raw Aloe vera, adding probiotics to their diets, or otherwise making health-conscious changes are eclipsed by their concerns for money.
Did you ever see a hearse pulling a U-Haul? Have you ever seen a coffin full of cash? We haven’t either. Whatever you do, whatever you choose, follow Paul’s advice – you don’t have to add wine to your diet, but you definitely should do SOMETHING to treat your “frequent ailments.”
And that something will, undoubtedly, require attention to your intake of probiotics.