The health benefits of drinking wine come from the chemical makeup of the wine, not necessarily the alcohol. Alcohol is the byproduct of fermentation, which on its own has tremendous health benefits. Alcohol itself may help to raise the good cholesterol and inhibit the formation of blood clots. This is called vasodilation, which means the opening of the blood vessels and increasing blood flow. Alcohol can not be dismissed as one of the health benefits of drinking wine but the real benefits in red wine are the ingredients derived from the grapes themselves.
Health Benefits Of Red Wine
In addition to bringing out the flavor in food, and being delicious on its own, red wine is strongly linked to a variety of health benefits. Studies have shown that drinking wine in moderation, a glass or two a day, can lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses.
The best part of the grape is the skin because it is the skins that are used in the process of fermentation. The skin contains over 400 health-promoting substances like tannins, phenols, flavonoids, bioflovanoids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and polyphenols like quercetin, resveratrol, OPC's and catechins. They all work together to raise the level of HDL cholesterol "good", and lower the LDL cholesterol "bad".
Antioxidants are molecule compounds that repair cell damage caused by harmful oxygen byproducts in the body. Most of these act like antixodiants in the blood that reduce free radicals in the body which cause damage, help create conditions for disease and cause aging. They donate electrons to unstable molecules which are literally bouncing around in your blood putting small pits in your blood vessels and damaging healthy cells. This action alone gives your body opportunity to heal the damage. It is this damage that we call the signs of aging. Some research has found that antioxidants can help reduce the risk of certain kinds of cancer, heart disease, macular degeneration and diabetes, and red wine is full of them.
Resveratrol is the king of the red wine health benefits. Also found in the skins of grapes, resveratrol is the antibody the grapes produce when they are fighting disease, fungii or injury. They repair cells, reduce inflation, and act as antioxidants in reversing the aging process. Where free radicals damage healthy cells, which is what causes aged skin, resveratrol not only combats the free radicals but repairs the damaged cells. When red wine is made, the skins and seeds are fermented in the grapes' juices, causing red wine to have high levels of resveratrol. Resveratrol may help reduce the risk for heart disease and strokes. It has blood-thinning capabilities, which helps prevent blood clots from forming. In addition, resveratrol lowers levels of low-density lipoprotein or LDL, also known as "bad" cholesterol in the blood, preventing the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
The best way to absorb Resveratrol in humans appears to be buccal delivery, that is without swallowing, but by direct absorption through the inside of the mouth. The way wine drinkers swish the wine in their mouth before swallowing is what make the combination so effective.
Flavonoids and bioflavonoids are really one in the same. Their purpose in plants is to create the blue and yellow pigments in flowers and leaves. Research has shown them to have both anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-allergy abilities.
Tannins are what give wine its bitter, dry taste and are found in the skin and seeds of the grapes. They are proanthocyanidins, often referred to as OPC's. Tannins work like antioxidants and prevent hardening of the arteries, and inhibit the growth of plaque on your teeth. Winemakers often go to great lengths to reduce the number of tannins in wine. Press Wine, on the other hand, is extremely high in tannins because the winemakers do not deseed the grapes, but instead press and break the seeds during winemaking.
Quercetin is another pigment in red grapes. Also found in apples, green onions and green tea, quercetin works as an anti-inflammatory, an antihistamine and an antioxidant. And trials are currently under way to see how quercetin fights off cancer cells.
Health Benefits Of White Wine
Studies analyzing white wine's effects on particular diseases have found that its antioxidant content is effective for preventing lung disease and breast cancer. Researchers found that white wine protects cells from breast cancer equally well compared with red wine. The nutritional content of white wine, aside from its antioxidant properties, includes phosphorus, potassium, and fluoride. The energy wine provides is an estimated 80 to 100 calories. Sweeter white wines contain more calories and dry white wines contain the least.
All together, these ingredients makeup the health benefits of drinking wine. While white wine does have its benefits, it can not hold a candle to the power grape skins add to the health benefits of drinking wine.