The first thing to note about the health benefits of drinking wine is that they’re only present if the wine is consumed in moderation. The strain that processing too much alcohol puts on your body far outweighs the relatively modest benefits of drinking your favourite fermented grape.
Not all wines are created equal when it comes to giving you a health boost and some truly do have something to offer that is good for more than just helping you relax. Here are some tips on how to buy the best wine for your health:
1. Red wines are good for your health
You may have already had someone tell you that red wine is healthier than white, and in most cases – they would be right. As a general rule, red wine contains notably higher health benefits than white or sparkling wine.
Of course, as you can tell by the vast range of flavours that wine grapes are able to produce, the variety available also affects what is happening on the nutrient spectrum. As you’re generally looking to avoid sugar if you want to call a wine healthy, a dry red wine is usually a safe bet. In the event that you’re really looking to maximize the health benefits of your wine habit, we can get even more specific.
2. Pinot noir boasts the most resveratrol
The reason that red wine can lay claim to being good for you is the fact that it is often rich in antioxidants. Of these antioxidants, resveratrol is the most prominent when you’re discussing wine. It is present in large quantities and has been liked to diminishing risk of cancer, stroke and heart diseases, in addition to other benefits which contribute to overall wellbeing.
As most wine experts now agree, pinot noir has the highest concentration of this highly touted antioxidant and it is therefore not much disputed that pinot noir is the healthiest choice among red wines.
3. Sugar levels also matter
As mentioned above, a wine with a high amount of sugar certainly isn’t working wonders for your health. Another strong point of pinot noir, in the health category at least, is that it also has a low level of initial sugar level before fermentation. This means that compared to something like a cabernet or shiraz, it produces a wine with less alcohol and fewer calories.
4. The polyphenol in wine helps with your health
What on earth is a polyphenol you might ask? Well, it is essentially everything contained in the wine that is not alcohol or water. This would include the resveratrol mentioned above, in addition to tannins, aromas, colour pigment, and an around 5,000 other plant compounds.
For health reasons, the most valuable ingredient in this polyphenol stew is procyanidins, which has the ability to inhibit cholesterol plaque in blood vessels. This is the reason why you’ll often see red wine celebrated for its associated with a strong and healthy heart.
5. Petite Syrah and Marselan both contain high levels of polyphenols
As polyphenols, and thus procyanidin, are found in the skins and seeds of the grapes, it is important which one you choose. Some of the grape varieties with the highest levels include petite syrah, a rich and delicious wine grown primarily in California, and Marselan, a successful crossing between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. This special grape is found scattered in amounts throughout many of the world’s wine regions, including France, Chine, Argentina and Brazil.
6. Go for more bitter wines
As a general characteristic, wines with a lot of polyphenol tend to be bold and often described as astringent or offering a slightly bitter taste. It is said that how bitter a wine is directed correlated to how much procyanidin it contains. A bitter wine will also encourage you to sip rather than gulp, so reach for something on the more acidic side of things next time you’re looking for a little health with your wine.