With everything closed and social distancing in effect it can be hard to have a friends night out. But thankfully we have access to things such a Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime. These allow us to spend quality time with our friends even though we may not be “together”. One thing I have seen are groups of friends doing wine nights together on Zoom. While this is great in more ways than one, wine has been proven to be great for your health, specifically red wine. Numerous studies have repeatedly shown the health benefits of red wine consumption being linked to lowering the risk of diseases. One of which is heart disease.
How is it Made?
Wineries today make red wine much like they did 60,000 years ago. Dark-colored grapes are harvested, crushed, fermented, stirred and separated from the skins with a press. Production of red wine requires no cooking. And besides grapes, yeast and, typically, sulfur dioxide as a preservative, the making of red wine uses no ingredients.
The only difference between making red wine from white wine is red wine ferments with the grape skins and juice combined in a tank or vat. White wines are pressed before fermentation, separating the juice from the skins. The skin stays in contact during red wine production because it allows color, flavor, and textural compounds to be integrated into the juice and the yeast converts any sugar to alcohol. The skin also contains most of the “good stuff” that gives red wine its color. While the pulp mostly provides the juice.
There are several types of red wine, which all vary in taste and color. Common varieties include Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet sauvignon, Pinot noir and Zinfandel. Zinfandel is a personal favorite of mine. Each type usually ranges from 12–15% alcohol content. So drink responsibly!
Health Benefits of Red Wine
While grapes are rich in a variety of antioxidants, the antioxidants resveratrol, and proanthocyanidins, are believed to be responsible for a lot of the health benefits red wine has. Studies done tie proanthocyanidins with reducing oxidative damage to the body along with helping prevent heart disease and cancer. Found in the grapes skin, resveratrol has been linked with helping fight inflammation along with blood clots. It also has been tied to helping reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. However to really benefit from resveratrol you may want to look into supplements as the content of it in red wine is on the lower side.
It has been found that those who drink approximately 150 ml (5 oz) of red wine a day seem to be around a 32% lower risk of heart disease than those who don’t drink red wine. However, higher intake of red wine increases the risk of heart disease dramatically. So drink responsibly! Drinking small amounts of red wine may also help reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to retain the “good” HDL cholesterol in the blood. While the oxidative damage and the oxidation of the “bad” LDL cholesterol may also be reduced by 50%.
Some studies suggest that those already a high risk for heart disease may benefit even more from moderate wine consumption. Also, studies suggest middle aged men who drink 1–3 glasses of red wine per day, 3–4 days a week, may reduce their risk of stroke. Lastly, one study done showed that consuming 2–3 glasses of dealcoholized red wine per day may help lower someones blood pressure.
While moderate red wine consumption does point to positive health benefits, there are also other ways to benefit your health. So don’t worry if you’re not much into wine. Though if you are a red wine drinker, do drink responsibly. Over consumption of red wine can negatively impact you. Try to stick to no more than 2 glasses a day with 6-8 glasses a week.