Is red wine healthy ?
It’s a subject that’s still being debated in our society. Is red wine healthy? There’s no doubt that alcohol is hazardous to your health, and studies conducted all over the world prove it. Harvard University, for example, conducted a 20-year study of participants who consumed red wine.
What if red wine, although alcoholic, had beneficial properties for our health? Why red wine and not white or rosé, for example? Here’s a closer look at moderate red wine consumption and its benefits for the body.
The French paradox
It was in the 60s and 70s that the British began to take an interest in red wine and its potential benefits for humans. It was then that the expression ‘French paradox’ was coined.
While French gastronomy is renowned for being particularly rich (cream, butter, cheese, bread, etc.), cardiovascular disease is lower in France than in other countries. And yet, a rich, fatty diet should lead to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease! What if the French love for red wine is the answer to this mystery? Yes, compared to other countries, the French have been drinking red wine regularly for centuries.
Polyphenols contained in red wine
Alcohol abuse is bad for your health, we know! The polyphenols contained in red wine, however, are highly beneficial for a number of reasons. Grapes, the delicious berries on which wine is made, are rich in natural antioxidants. These antioxidants are present in the grape skin, as well as in the grape seeds. Called polyphenols, they come in several types, including catechin, epicatechin, proanthocyanidin and, above all, resveratrol. It’s this last polyphenol in particular that is said to give red wine all its virtues.
Vinification, the difference between grape juice and red wine
If alcohol is dangerous for your health, but grapes have so many virtues, why not just drink grape juice? And why would red wine be beneficial and not white or rosé wine? The answer lies in the winemaking process.
Unlike white or rosé wine, during the red wine-making process, the juice from red grapes macerates for a considerable time with the skins and seeds. In this way, the grape juice, known as grape must, acquires all the properties contained in the solid parts.
White and rosé wines are vinified differently. Once in the winery, the grapes are pressed directly, so the grape must is not in contact with the solid parts (skins and seeds). This explains why red grape juice (without alcohol) does not have the same virtues as wine. As with white and rosé wines, to make grape juice, the berries are pressed directly and only the juice is retained. It does not macerate with the solid particles, rich in antioxidants.
The effects of polyphenols
Regulation of cholesterol levels
The beneficial effects of polyphenols are numerous. In fact, moderate consumption of red wine regulates cholesterol levels by reducing bad cholesterol, known as LDL, and retaining good cholesterol, known as HDL. This has the effect of reducing heart disease.
Benefits for the heart
In the heart, polyphenols prevent undesirable coagulation by keeping blood vessels supple. Red wine therefore helps prevent the formation of blood clots.
Antibacterials for digestive disorders
The antibacterial nature of polyphenols helps treat stomach inflammation and other digestive disorders. They are particularly effective against Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which thrive in the stomach, reducing the risk of infection.
Resveratrol prevents diabetes
In women in particular, resveratrol, one of the polyphenols found in grape skins and seeds, controls blood sugar levels and thus prevents the development of type 2 diabetes.
A glass of red wine against colds!
For the approaching winter season, red wine, thanks to its many antioxidants, acts against the free radicals that have an impact on seasonal illnesses such as the common cold.
Preserve your memory with red wine
Resveratrol even has an effect on memory! In fact, it prevents the formation of beta-amyloid protein, which is partly responsible for Alzheimer’s disease.
How much red wine should I drink?
Excessive alcohol consumption is dangerous for your health, so the secret lies in moderation. Every body reacts differently to different foods, and alcohol is no exception. Moderate consumption would correspond to one to two glasses of red wine a day. Traditionally, glasses of red wine are enjoyed with lunch and dinner.
Consumption of organic or biodynamic red wines obviously favors the healthy profile of red wine. Of course, enjoying a glass of red wine at mealtimes is not enough to ensure good health! It must be combined with a healthy lifestyle, including a Mediterranean-style diet and regular physical activity.