It’s been proven that red wine is good for our health, but recent research has taken this a step further to see whether it’s really that simple. Is red wine as good for us as people claim or do wine drinkers just lead healthier lifestyles?
What Are the Health Benefits of Red Wine?
For years, we’ve been debating the health benefits of red wine, and this time it turns out that science may be working in our favour. It’s been shown that drinking wine in moderation (that’s about one small glass a day) has been shown to have both anti-carcinogenic and anti- thrombotic effects, offering wine drinkers some protection from both heart disease and some specific forms of cancer.
Red wine, in particular, has been shown to have the highest levels of antioxidants, and the darker the grape, the higher the content. If you’re interested in the specifics, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were shown to be the best, with the merlot and zinfandel grapes a close second!
Is Red Wine Making Us Healthier?
When you think of sipping on a glass of wine, it’s easy for the mind to wander to the Mediterranean, where people feast on a diet of fresh vegetables drizzled with olive oil and freshly caught fish. The Mediterranean diet is synonymous with health, so it’s no surprise that wine, and especially red wine, is featured heavily on the menu.
Granted, most of us don’t live in the Mediterranean, and are more likely to get our vegetables from the supermarket than our vegetable patch, but do we as wine drinkers generally choose a healthier diet than our beer or spirit drinking counterparts? This was the question posed by the Danish researchers which lead to a 6-month study into what wine drinkers really eat.
The study took place in two large Danish supermarket chains and randomly selected 3.5 million transactions over a 6-month period. They could see the exact details of what people bought and how much the overall shop cost them. The customers were then divided further into 4 alcohol drinking categories; “wine only”, “beer only”, “mixed”, or “non-alcohol.” This allowed the researchers to determine exactly what the wine and beer drinkers were buying, and presumably, eating.
What Did the Research Reveal About Red Wine Drinkers?
Well, it turns out you don’t need to live in the Mediterranean to reap the health benefits of the diet. Wine drinkers were found to make far healthier food choices compared to their beer drinking counterparts, buying much healthier foods, such as olives, fruit and vegetables, poultry and low fat cheese in comparison to the beer buyers, who generally bought ready cooked dishes, chips, fattier meats and sugary goods.
So, it turns out that we really are what we eat (and drink!) Yes, red wine certainly provides some unique health benefits, but it’s also the lifestyle choices made by wine drinkers that provide them with optimum health.
Should I Be Drinking Red Wine Regularly?
If you’re not a wine drinker, don’t be disheartened; the benefits from drinking wine are easily matched by other tweaks to your lifestyle such as taking regular exercise and not smoking. It’s also important to remember that drinking excess alcohol (even if it is red wine!) can be harmful, so if you’re indulging on a regular basis, stick to a small glass once a day- just make sure it’s Cabernet with some olives on the side!