Red Wine Health
If someone said the words ‘red wine health’ to you, what image would it conjure in your mind? Would you see a hobo on the street with a swollen red face or would you see a villa-dwelling retiree who looked fresh-faced and tanned?
This is the immediate problem when we approach controversial topics such as red wine health. How healthy you perceive red wine health to be is largely determined by your attitude to alcohol.
If you are someone who can down three bottles of red in one session and spend the next day feeling the brunt of it, you are probably going to laugh in the face of red wine health.
If however you are someone who enjoys a glass of red with your dinner and is used to drinking in moderation, you can understand the inherent benefits of a good Rioja.
Either way, in recent years, red wine health or red wine as a positive influence on our health has become a popular concept.
Unsurprisingly this concept originated from studies on Mediterranean lifestyles, the epi-centre of red wine health. Here, doctors discovered that even though people in these regions live on diets with a relatively high fat content, they have low levels of cholesterol.
This discovery was what you might call a ‘eureka’ moment in the history of red wine health. It allowed medical experts to identify a direct link between the health of the heart and the consumption of red wine.
That said medical experts would never endorse encouraging people to drink large quantities of red wine. This would be counteractive to red wine health. If a person is consuming too much, there is a definite risk of alcohol abuse and when this occurs, experts would be more likely to suggest abstention from alcohol.
That’s why I began this piece by asking what image does ‘red wine health’ conjure for you. Ultimately it is our attitude to alcohol, which determines our ability to handle it and moderate our consumption.
For those who have got a good attitude to red wine health, doctors happily recommend a glass a day, usually with dinner, as for many people this is the best way to get the most from red wine health.
Having the right attitude is one part of red wine health. Besides the attitude, it is impossible to ignore some of the health benefits, which experts have identified are directly related to the consumption of wine in moderation.
One of the greatest benefits of red wine is the fact that’s it an antioxidant. Oxygen by-products, known as free radicals, can be harmful to the body and lead to the development of serious illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.
Antioxidants have the ability to counteract these free radicals, neutralising them and eliminating any harm to the body. This is the secret to red wine health.
The most powerful antioxidants in red wine come from the skin and the seeds of the grapes. Because of the red colouring, the antioxidants in red grapes are higher, in the same way that beetroot and carrots also have a high level of antioxidants.
In the process of making red wine, the skin and seeds are fermented into the mixture, giving the wine a high concentration of antioxidants. This is the first stage of red wine health.
This fermentation produces an antioxidant known as resveratrol, which has been shown to kill certain cancers and prevent DNA mutations. It also acts as a blood-thinning agent, which reduces the risk of blood clots and heart disease. In fact, it is the power of this antioxidant that is the key to red wine health.