Hiyaguha Cohen
04 February 2012

When the colonists first arrived in the US from Europe, they considered water unhealthy to drink compared to wine.1 "Water is not wholesome solely by itself for an Englishman," wrote dietician Andrew Boorde in the 1500's. "If any man do use to drink water with wine, let it be purely strained, and then [boil] it; and after it be cold, let him put it to his wine."

That, of course, was probably more a reflection of the quality of drinking water in most cities at the time than an endorsement of wine itself. In our times, though, debate rages on about whether wine is "wholesome solely by itself," with some saying it helps the heart because it's so rich in antioxidants, and others claiming it causes cancer because of its alcohol content and impurities. But for eight percent of the population, this debate is largely irrelevant. Those 500 million people can't drink wine at all because they have an allergy to it.
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