About 71 percent of wine drinkers in United States choose red wine, and this majority is on the right track when it comes to the health benefits wine offers. Studies show that the compound resveratrol, found abundantly in red grapes (and blueberries), offers several heath benefits, including antioxidant properties that may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and may even help prevent cancer. A two-year animal study found that when a daily dose of resveratrol was administered (the equivalent of the amount in two glasses of red wine daily), the risk of developing cancerous tumors went down 50 percent.
So next time you choose a glass of wine, opt for red for more health benefits, and consider these varietals:
- Pinot Noir: It consistently has the highest concentrations of resveratrol, especially if the grapes come from cool, rainy climates (think Oregon’s Willamette Valley or New York’s Fingerlakes Region rather than California’s Napa Valley).
- Cabernets, Merlots and Syrahs: While they come from different grapes (Cabernet is made from tannat grapes, Merlot is made from blue grapes, and Syrah is flavored with black currants), all contain high levels of procyanidins – an antioxidant that has been linked to longevity and cardiovascular and arterial health.
In addition, seek out dry wines – they tend to have higher levels of flavonoids, which are beneficial to heart health and cholesterol levels. Sweeter wines tend to have lower levels of flavonoids.
In my Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, I recommend organic red wine, and limiting your intake to no more than one, or at most two, servings per day. And if you do not drink alcohol, do not start for health reasons, as these health effects are subtle and one can enjoy excellent cardiovascular health without them.
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