Facts About Red Wine and the Health Benefits of Red Wine
Table Of Contents
- Short History Of Red Wine
- About Red Wine
- A Word About White Wine
- Red Wine Nutritional Facts
- Health Benefits Of Red Wine
- Calories In A Glass Of Red Wine And Other Information
- Red Wine and Headaches And Red Wine Allergy
- Facts About Red Wine
- The Healthiest Red Wines
- Some Of My Other Health Hubs
Short History Of Red Wine
It is believed that red wine was first produced in the Caucasus region of Georgia and in Iran, around 6000 B.C. Wine was also produced in ancient Egypt and the Egyptians left paintings that detailed their winemaking process.
Cultivation of grapes was undertaken by the Babylonians as well as the Greeks and Romans, who also maintained vineyards.
About Red Wine
Red wine is made from dark-coloured grapes. The red colour is provided by the anthocyanin pigments, the skin of these dark coloured grapes contain. Red, dark purple and even blue coloured grapes are used to produce red wine.
The actual colour and the various hues in red wine are dependent on the type of grapes used as also on the length of time the grape skins are in contact with the juice during the fermentation process. The amount of tannin released into the wine is also dependent on this time factor.
Red wines are also classified on the body type or the mouth feel and are of 3 types.
- Light bodied - Beaujolais, Nouveau
- Medium bodied - Merlot, Shiraz, Chianti
- Full bodied - Bordeaux, Cabs, Supertuscans
The light-bodied red wines are lower in the tannin and alcohol content while they are at their highest levels in the full-bodied red wines.
Wine has since the earliest times been used as medication; as an antiseptic to heal wounds, a digestive, an alternative to drinking water, as well as to treat a wide range of health conditions.
A Word About White Wine
To make white wine the skins of the grapes are removed before they are subjected to the wine making process. White wine therefore has no tannins as the tannin is contained in the grape skins. Tannin is an astringent and the factor that gives dryness to the wine.
Red Wine Nutritional Facts
Red wine contains several phenols and polyphenols. Polyphenols act as antioxidants but of these resveratrol has been studied the most.
Catechin, gallic acid and epicatechin are some phenols found in red wine.
Health Benefits Of Red Wine
- Red Wine And Cancer
Polyphenols in red wine, act as antioxidants in hunting out free radicals. Free radicals cause damage to cells leading to cancer.
Resveratrol in red wine reduces inflammation and checks the growth of tumours and cancer cells.
Research studies published in the International Journal of Cancer show that consumption of 1 glass of red wine every day reduces the risk of prostate cancer by 50%. Those who consumed at least 4 glasses of red wine per week showed a 60% lower incidence of prostate cancer, of the more aggressive type.
It has recently been found that resveratrol in red wine makes the prostate tumour cells more amenable to radiation treatment and chemotherapy.
However, a glass of red wine taken daily increased the chances of women having cancer by 1/5th.
- Red Wine And Cholesterol
Red wine lowers LDL cholesterol, the bad guy, in healthy people by 9% and in those with high cholesterol, by 12%, in a study reported from the University of Complutense de Madrid in Spain.
- Red Wine And Men
Red wine may increase levels of testosterone in the blood by reducing its excretion according to a study published in Nutrition journal.
The compound Quercetin in red wine is believed to be responsible for this. This was found by researchers at Kingston University in London.
Be aware though that going beyond 1-2 glasses of red wine may tank the testosterone levels.
- Red Wine And Heart Disease
Red wine polyphenols keep the blood vessels soft and flexible, reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke, raise the HDL cholesterol and have an anti-inflammatory effect on the arterial walls.
Consume red wine in moderation to avail these benefits, according to John Folts, professor of Cardiovascular Medicine And Nutrition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
- Red Wine And Diabetes
Resveratrol in red wine regulates blood sugar levels. This is especially beneficial to those with a high risk of heart disease.
This was found by in a study by researchers from the University of Barcelona of Valencia in Spain.
A study published in the Journal Nutrition reports that 250 mg of resveratrol supplement taken once a day for 3 months lowered blood glucose levels. It also lowered total cholesterol and reduced blood pressure.
- Red Wine And Brain
The compound resveratrol in red wine helps in boosting brain function and memory.
This has been reported by a senior research scientist at the Litwin-Zucker Research Center for Study of Alzheimer's disease and Memory disorders in New York.
- Red Wine And Muscles
Red wine may slow down muscle deterioration in case of muscle inactivity.
When muscles were not used for a period of time due to accidents or immobilization, the muscle mass, strength and bone density decreased.
This can be prevented by giving a resveratrol supplement. Resveratrol has been shown to preserve muscle fibre according to a French study in the Faseb Journal.
- Red Wine And Weight
Our body converts resveratrol into the chemical compound piceatannol which prevents the baby fat cells from maturing and leading to weight gain and obesity.
A study to this effect was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry according to lead researcher Kee-hong Kim of Purdue University.
- Red Wine And Blood Pressure
Non-alcoholic red wine is better than regular red wine at lowering blood pressure. It decreases both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in those with low to moderate hypertension, a study published in the online Circulation Research reveals.
This was found by Spanish researchers led by Gemma Chiva-Blanch of The University of Barcelona.
Calories In A Glass Of Red Wine And Other Informatiion
The standard red wine pour is 5 ounces though red wine glasses may range from 8 oz to 22 oz or more in capacity. The extra headspace in the glass is to maximize the air contact with the wine, to sort of allow the wine to breathe as well as allowing more room to swirl the wine.
At a serving temperature of 60-65 F wines are at their best. If they are too warm they will taste alcoholic, too cold, and they will taste bitter and astringent.
An oval or egg-shaped glass is best for drinking wine.
On average, there are 25 calories in an ounce of red wine or 125 calories in a glass of red wine.
Oak barrels are preferred for fermenting and ageing wine since it provides flavour and aroma to the wine.
Moderate consumption of red wine or any wine for that matter is one 5 oz glass of wine per day for women and two 5 oz glasses for men.
Red Wine and Headaches And Red Wine Allergy
Many people suffer from red wine headaches or RWH syndrome. This is a headache that occurs in people, who normally do not suffer headaches, after drinking just a single glass of red wine. The headache is often accompanied by nausea and flushing.
White wine does not cause these headaches in these individuals. It is believed the sulphites, histamines, tannins and tyramine in red wine may be the cause of red wine headache.
Some doctors suggest taking antihistamine, aspirin or ibuprofen beforehand to prevent these headaches.
All wines contain sulphites naturally and they can trigger allergic symptoms like nasal congestion, sneezing, itching or like and asthma. Sulphites are also added for wine preservation and to kill the yeast and bacteria that are naturally harboured on the grape skin. Without sulphites, wine has no shelf life.
Histamines are more concentrated in red whines than the white wines. Those who are not able to metabolize histamine because of a lack of a particular enzyme in the intestines are the ones who suffer most from the RWH syndrome.
Tyramine causes a rise in blood pressure in some people and this triggers red wine headaches in these people.
Facts About Red Wine
- Even minute changes in temperature can affect wine quality.
- Red wine accounts for 55% of restaurant wine sales.
- Prophet Mohammed influenced the history of wine the most in that wine was banned in Arabia and other countries that followed his teachings within a decade following his death.
- Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used wine in almost all his remedies.
- Grapes are the only fruit that can produce wine naturally by fermentation since they produce just the right nutritional needs of yeast by way of its skin and sugar contained in the juice.
- All wines taste like fruit, rarely like grapes.
- One bottle of wine is made from 2.8 pounds of grapes.
- Wine glasses should always be held by the stem and not by the bowl to prevent the transfer of heat from the hand to the wine.
- White wine should be served at a temperature of 45-50 degrees F while red wine is served at 50-60 degrees F.
- Wine releases its aromas when swirled and the rim of the wine glass curves inwards to contain the aroma of the wine.
The Healthiest Red Wines
- Pinot noirs have the highest concentration of resveratrol.
- Madirans and Cabernets are made from Tannat grapes and contain very high levels of procyanidins.
- Merlot and Syrahs contain high levels of procyanidins.
- Go-Dry red wines contain high levels of flavonoids.
It has been found that resveratrol content increases when grapes are attacked by fungi as a defence measure. Resveratrol kills the fungi.
The Pinot noir variety of grapes have thin skins and hence respond immediately to the fungal attack and therefore maintain a high level of resveratrol for protection.
Since fungi are more likely to attack in moist and humid areas, it makes sense to go for wines made from France, New York and Oregon than from Australia, South Africa or Central Valley, California, these being dry areas.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly