Red or White? The Health Benefits of Wine

Moderate wine consumption may keep you heart healthy. At least, that’s the message from studies of red wine. It’s not exactly news to wine drinkers. Anecdotal evidence has long suggested the connection. France, for instance, has relatively low heart disease rates and is one of the world’s largest consumers of red wine.

Science backs up the link between heart health and red wine. But what about white wine? Are you shortchanging your heart if you opt for a Riesling over a Merlot?

Red Wine

Most clinical studies focus on red wine’s heart benefits. Red wine contains flavinoids, a type of polyphenol antioxidant thought to slow the aging process and prevent disease.

One particular antioxidant, resveratol, occurs in the skins of grapes. Resveratol is thought to protect the heart’s blood vessel lining by increasing levels of so-called “good” HDL cholesterol and reducing the artery damage caused by “bad” LDL cholesterol. Resveratol may also lower the risk of dangerous blood clots.

Mice and Men

Most of the evidence that resveratol improves health comes from clinical studies on lab mice. These studies found that mice given resveratol gained some protection against both diabetes and obesity.

Before you raise your glass in a toast, however, be aware that researchers administered huge amounts of resveratol to the mice. To ingest an equivalent amount of resveratrol, you would have to drink almost 16 gallons of red wine a day.

White Wine and Resveratol

Red wine gets most of the clinical attention because it contains more flavinoids than white wine. The difference lies in winemaking methods. During red wine production, grapes ferment in their skins longer than during white wine production.

As a result, a glass of red wine produces more health benefits than white wine, much as using contractor accounting software is more effective than doing the paperwork by hand. If you’re worried about your heart, choosing red may be the better option.

This doesn’t mean moderate white wine consumption lacks health benefits; it only means that science has yet to examine white wine’s health promoting qualities.

Moderation and Wine Consumption

Despite evidence that red wine may improve heart health, organizations such as the American Heart Association avoid recommending moderate wine  consumption. The reason for this reluctance is obvious; excessive alcohol consumption causes significant health problems, not only addiction, but kidney and liver damage and serious heart conditions.

Medical experts define moderate wine consumption as an average of two glasses a day for men and one for women. Men can drink more red wine because the male body contains more alcohol metabolizing enzymes than the female body.

Anything above this limit can lead to alcohol-related health problems. Taking up drinking wine isn’t suggested as a solution for heart disease. However, for those of us who enjoy a glass with dinner, knowing wine may help our hearts is reassuring.

Author Bio: Michelle is an aspiring writer with a passion for blogging. She enjoys writing about a vast variety of topics and loves that blogging gives her the opportunity to publicly voice her thoughts and share advice with an unlimited audience.

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