Wine is truly one of the greatest alcoholic beverages to grace our humble planet! There’s nothing quite as good as a chilled glass of rose wine on a hot day, some white wine with a tasty chicken meal, or a bit of rich red wine served with steak and pasta.
Of all the alcohols, wine is probably the only one that does more good than harm. While most alcoholic beverages just give you more sugar, calories, and toxic alcohol, wine actually offers some health benefits.
But which wine is the best? In this post, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know…
What You Need to Know About Wines
There aren’t just three types of wines, but actually there are six:
1. Red wine
Black grapes are used to make red wine, including the skins to add pigment. The main difference between red wines and the others is the presence of tannins, which come from the skins.
2. Rosé wine
Rosé wine is also made from the dark black grapes, but the skins are removed after only brief contact. This wine contains very few tannins, hence the naturally sweet taste.
3. White wine
White grapes are used to make white wines, though some are made with black grapes. There is no contact with the skin, hence no color.
4. Sparkling wines
These wines can be made from nearly any grape type, and they contain carbon dioxide bubbles–hence being fizzy. Most people call this type of wine Champagne, but only sparkling wine made in the region of Champagne can actually be labeled thus.
5. Fortified wines
These wines aren’t just traditional wines, but stronger spirits like Brandy are added into the wine. The addition of stronger alcohol causes a higher sugar content, and there is less fermentation.
6. Dessert wines
These wines are higher in sugar, as they are either harvested late or dried on straw mats to concentrate the sugar. They are sweet, and thus served as a dessert.
All of these types of wine are tasty, but not all of them offer the same benefits.
Who Drinks What?
Did you know that studies have been done examining the types of people who drink certain types of wine? According to one study:
- Those who drink red wine tend to drink more frequently than those who drink white or rosé wine.
- Those who drink white wine tend to be content with their career position.
- It’s more common for red wine drinkers to be married and have a degree.
- White wine drinkers tend to be content to stay at home and love holidays.
- Red wine drinkers are usually more relaxed when it comes to wine preferences.
- Rose wine drinkers like to try new and different things.
- It’s common for white wine drinkers to drink the same vintage regularly.
- 55% of rosé wine drinkers have left school at the age of 18.
- 86% of red wine drinkers are in a happy, stable marriage.
- 85% of rosé and white wine drinkers are either single and not looking for a relationship or in a happy, unmarried relationship.
What does your wine preferences say about you?
The Healthiest Wines
We all know that wine is healthy, but do you know how healthy? Some wines offer greater health benefits than others, so here are the wines you should definitely be trying:
- Cabernets/Madirans — These two types of wine come from tannat grapes, which are known to contain very high levels of antioxidants known as procyanidins. The antioxidant can improve the health of your heart and vascular system, and has even been proven to increase your life expectancy.
- Pinot Noir — Of all the wines, Pinot Noir has the highest concentrations of the cancer-fighting compound resveratrol, particularly the ones grown in cool climates that receive a lot of rainfall.
- Merlot/Syrahs — The flavor of these wines are different from Cabs and Madirans, and they contain more procyanidins as well. Syrah is made with black currants added into the wine, and Merlot is made with blue grapes.
These are the three wines you want to drink A LOT of, as they offer the best health benefits. Yes, there are many other types of red wines, but these listed above are the best of the reds.
When it comes to rosé and white wine, you get a lot of sweet flavor, but almost nothing in the way of antioxidants. The dark red color of red wine is the proof of the antioxidant content, but white and pink wines have almost no color. It’s like comparing a purple cabbage with a regular green cabbage–there’s still some value, but nowhere near as much!
Here’s a short video showing the differences between red, rose and white wine.
Dry or Sweet?
Did you know that dry wines offer greater health benefits than sweet wines?
Red wines that have a drier flavor profile tend to have higher levels of antioxidants like flavonoids and procyanidins. These antioxidants are produced by the tannins that come from the skin of the grapes, and they are the ones that offer all the health benefits. Cabernets and Madirans are the ones with the highest levels of flavonoids, though all red wines are loaded with the antioxidants.
Sweeter wines usually have lower levels of flavonoids, offering fewer health benefits. If you’re looking for a heart smart wine, it’s better to go dry every time!
Health Benefits of Red Wine
Did you know that wine contains live cultures similar to the ones inhabiting your intestines? Wine is a form of probiotic, and drinking wine helps to stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in your intestines. It can unlock more energy in your body.
You’d be interested to know that drinking red wine is the best way to live longer. While dark beers can offer a few health benefits, only red wine offers a longevity increase.
Red wine contains polyphenols, which have been proven to fight the effects of aging. A glass or two of red wine per day can help to keep your skin young, fight off toxins, and reduce the toll your age takes on your body.
Reduced Diabetes Risk
Interestingly enough, those who drink a glass or two of red wine per day have a 30% lower risk of developing diabetes than those who don’t drink at all. With diabetes being one of the major threats in our country, it stands to reason that drinking wine is the smart way to go!
Slowed Mental Decline
For drinkers of red wine, you can expect your brain function to decline much more slowly as you age.
Red wine contains special antioxidants that can help to not only lower your total cholesterol level, but can even increase the production of the “good” cholesterol. Increasing good cholesterol even slightly is the best way to lower your bad cholesterol overall, and it will help to protect your arteries against damage.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
According to the Mayo Clinic, studies in mice have discovered that red wine can help to reduce the risk of both clotting and inflammation. Clotting as a result of arterial damage is what leads to heart attacks and strokes, and inflammation usually leads to high blood pressure and other heart conditions. By reducing these two problems, red wine drastically reduces the risk of heart disease.
Hard to imagine that drinking a glass of red wine is the key to fighting that cold, right? Oddly enough, the antioxidants in your glass of wine boost your immune system, reducing your risk of common colds by as much as 40%. This is due to the fact that antioxidants fight infection, prevent cellular damage, and eliminate free radicals.
Pretty amazing stuff, right? Time for me to pop open that cork and pour myself a glass of good health!
Did You Know: Red wine stimulates your appetite, so it’s best when drunk with a bit of food.
How Much Wine?
Now comes the tricky part: knowing how much to drink.
All of the health benefits listed above aren’t the result of drinking five or six glasses of wine per day (Sorry, ladies of The View!). In fact, almost all of the studies into the benefits of red wine have proven that just ONE glass of red wine per day is the best way to go.
The studies will always use the term “moderate” when describing wine consumption, and that means between one and two glasses per day. More than that, and you start to lose the health benefits due to an increase in calorie intake and alcohol’s effects on your body.
With just one glass of red wine per day, you’ll stay healthy without overdoing it on alcohol!