It is widely believed that a glass of wine a day can be beneficial to one’s health. We can rather safely assume that this statement should be narrowed down to red wine, as red wine seems to be significantly healthier than white wine.
There are many factors that contribute to the health benefits of red wine, both from the actual ingredients of the grapes themselves and from the production process. The health benefit most touted when talking about red wine is the flavonoid content.
Flavonoids are plant-based compounds (in this case found in the skin and seeds of grapes) with powerful antioxidant properties. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which can damage cells and lead to aging and disease. In essence, they may help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke, as well as play a role in protecting the brain.
In general, the sweeter the red wine, the lower the flavonoid content. According to research conducted at the University of Califorinia that would make Cabernet Sauvignon the red with the highest flavonoid content, followed closely by Pinot Noir and Syrah.
Another important ingredient in red wine is the antioxidant resveratrol. Resveratrol has been linked mainly to heart health, in that it may protect the lining of blood vessels in the heart, and help protect against cardiovascular disease. There are also promising studies linking resveratrol to help in the lowering of blood sugar.
A new finding is that there are possible antitumor substances (ellagitannin derivatives) in red wine grapes that are formed during ageing in oak barrels and which may have potent anti-cancer properties. These substances will only be produced when the wine is aged in oak barrels. Pinot Noir has the highest levels of said chemicals, and almost twice as much as Cabernet or Merlot, the wines with the next highest concentrations.
Organic vs. Non-organic
Another important factor of a wine is whether or not it is organic. Organic wine is generally pesticide free. One study found that European conventional wine, randomly tested, was found to have on average four pesticides. The wines had much larger concentrations of pesticides than the legal limit. The organic wines contained no pesticides.
Some wines are healthier than others. An organic Pinot Noir would stand out as potentially the healthiest wine. It is free of pesticides, full of flavonoids, rich in resveratrol, and aged in oak – rich, potentially cancer-fighting substances.
Breaking it Down
All types of organic wines, both red and white, would generally be considered the next healthiest, more because of what they don’t contain than for what they do.
Any Pinot Noir would come in just under the organic version. Cabernet Sauvignon should stand next in line due to its flavonoid content (remember the dryer the wine the higher the flavonoid content), followed closely by a Syrah.
And finally, a gorgeous glass of champagne or sparkling wine may end up being very healthy too, because it is less calorie-dense than red wine, and for the non-scientific reason of catering to one’s mental health and happiness.
This article was composed by Linda Washington, a freelance writer who writes articles for travelingvineyeard.com. To learn more about a wine-based business opportunity, please click here.