It sounds almost too good to be true! Many of us just savor a delicious glass of wine with dinner or after work, and to hear that drinking wine in moderation is good for your health is wonderfully reassuring. This article explores the nutritional benefits of drinking red, white and rosé wine, the difference in how they are produced and the best foods to pair with them.
Does a Glass a Day Really Help you Live Longer?
Yes, there most certainly is a link. Drinking wine in moderation, alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise may help you live longer. Research has shown that some ingredients in wine can promote longevity, with Italy and France boasting higher life expectancy levels than most other countries. It’s no coincidence that Italy and France are among the 10 best wine regions in Europe and produce some of the finest wines in the world.
French and Italian people have a healthy approach to alcohol and tend to enjoy a glass or two with a meal or among friends. They tend not to drink excessive amounts and enjoy moderate drinking – key factors in keeping healthy.
Red, White or Rose? Which is best for you?
The good news is that whether you prefer a full bodied red, a crisp white or a sun blushed rose, they all bring health benefits. Research shows that red wine has the highest nutritional content overall. It’s higher in potassium and iron content. During the red wine fermentation process the grapes remain in their skins and intact, resulting in the red wine containing more resveratrol than white or ros wines. Resveratrol is a type of antioxidant or polyphenol which brings the health advantages listed below:
- It’s anti-inflammatory
- Reduces blood pressure
- Helps metabolize fat efficiently
- Protects against cancer
- Helps combat heart disease
- Lowers insulin sensitivity
- Improves cognitive function
- Improves development of mitochondria
- Positive effects on gut health
The Positive Health Effects of Rosé Wine
Rosé wine has similar health benefits to red wine. The grape skins are removed early in the fermentation process so rosé wine contains less resveratrol than red wine but more of the antioxidant than white wine.
It has similar levels of vitamins and minerals to red wine and is lower in calories than red wine.
What about White wine?
White wine is lower in resveratrol than its red and rosé siblings but it’s still rich in antioxidants so will bring some of the same health benefits. It’s also lower in calories than red wine.
Champagne or sparkling wine can improve blood flow and improve cognitive function.
Overall, wine is healthy in moderation, and wine drinkers tend to enjoy better health than beer drinkers. There are, however, other factors involved when considering the health enhancing properties of wine. Wine drinkers generally choose a healthier diet than beer drinkers. Wine drinkers tend to be sociable and enjoy gatherings with friends and family. This in itself is a contributing factor to lowering stress levels and promoting relaxation – great for long term health and wellbeing.
While moderate wine drinking may bring health benefits, it’s not a good idea to start drinking wine to improve your health. There are other ways to improve your health, like exercising regularly and eating healthy.
The Negative Aspects of wine drinking:
- It can be addictive
- May cause restless sleeping patterns
- Can cause hangovers
- May induce allergic reactions
- Might be harmful to people that have underlying health conditions
What are the best types of red wine to drink?
There is a range of delicious wines from all over the world and their descriptions like fruity, dry, earthy, smooth, oaky etc. are enticing. When choosing a wine to drink with food, try to balance flavors. Strong tastes go with bold flavors. Food and wine should complement and not overpower each other. It tends to be the full bodied wines that offer the most health benefits. Red wines with the tannins extracted are the tastiest and the healthiest to drink. Older wines with greater vintage are the best for optimum nutrition. Opt for unfiltered and organic wines where possible.
Red wine goes best with beef, lamb and steak. Game dishes suit strong full bodied wines like Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon. Both pair well with steak. Lighter reds like Pinot Noir or Merlot complement lamb or even chicken very well.
What about White and Rosé wines?
White wines tend to be served with chicken and seafood. A sweet white wine can really complement a spicy dish. Similarly, a mellow white will pair well with a salty platter. Chardonnay is a medium to full bodied white and can be a strong accompaniment to a roast lamb or chicken dish.
Rosé is a versatile wine and its association with summer and pink tinged evening skies make it ideal to serve with light fresh salads, cheeses and charcuterie. There are fuller bodied rose wines that complement barbecued meats and spicier dishes. A vintage rose can balance the meaty flavors of venison or lamb superbly.