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How Red Wine Can Actually Help You Live Longer

You may have been told by plenty of health-conscious individuals (including myself) that alcohol is terrible for your health and should be avoided. I even wrote an article detailing the effects of alcohol on your body. There is one notable exception: red wine. Red wine is rich in polyphenols, flavonoids, resveratrol and other antioxidants which make it extremely beneficial for one’s health and longevity. Blue Zones’ (regions of the world where people live much longer on average) inhabitants habitually drink red wine.

Beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system and heart cells due to red wine consumption have been identified repeatedly in research lab settings. When wine is paired with a physical exercise program, as compared to regular physical exercise alone, LDL to HDL cholesterol ratios improve dramatically. The French paradox is the observation of low coronary heart disease (CHD) death rates despite high intake of dietary cholesterol and saturated fat. European research has shown that red wine consumption is associated with a decrease of 24-31% in all cause mortality.

According to a medical report (Ferrières, 2004) “the only clear message is that moderate alcohol drinking (two or three times a day) has a protective effect against CHD. Alcohol intake raises high density lipoprotein (HDH) cholesterol concentrations and approximately 50% of the risk reduction attributable to alcohol consumption is explained by changes in HDL cholesterol.” A different report (Saleem & Basha, 2010) also found that “moderate consumption of red wine helps in preventing CVD through several mechanisms, including increasing the high density lipoprotein cholesterol plasma levels, decreasing platelet aggregation, by antioxidant effects, and by restoration of endothelial function.”

One of my favorite physiologists, Ben Greenfield, has long advocated for drinking red wine and reaping the benefits it has to offer. He likes to point to a European study (Snopek et al., 2018) of Mediterranean university graduates that concluded that red wine drinkers showed significantly lower instances of death and CVD when compared to beer or other types of alcohol drinkers. Like myself, he is also a big fan of how it decreases the risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes.

I like to recommend wines that come from biodiverse vineyards and that are organic and thus free of the 76 FDA-approved additives. Dry Farm Wines is a great place to buy wine due to their strict criteria for their ingredients. They thoroughly vet every grower and place great emphasis on purity. The wines they bring in from France, Italy and New Zealand are some of my favorites.

Then, there are of course the social benefits of drinking red wine. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “the social effects [of alcohol] may also contribute to health and well being.” It goes beyond just heart health and antioxidants. People need an active social life in order to achieve maximum health. Drinking wine in your social life tends to expose you to different places and people and this is a key part of healthy living.

Here are some wines that I personally recommend:

King Richard’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2016 (Russian River Valley, USA.) I give this one a 4.8/5. While it’s a bit pricy at $112, it’s the best Pinot I’ve ever had. This was a nice treat I had the chance to enjoy with my family, and it really made for a perfect evening.

Cakebread Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Napa Valley, USA.) I also give this one a 4.8/5. It costs $95, but is quite exquisite. I do think it could use a couple more years or perhaps even longer decanting. I had this with Grass-Fed/Grass-Finished Filet Mignon, a classic synergistic combination.

Collezione del Barone Barolo 2014. I would give this one a 4.6/5. It’s a budget-friendly Barolo at only $23. I really enjoyed it, but it’s not a Barolo I’d repeat.

Vinum Italicum No.3 Opera (Veneto, Italy.) I would give this one a 4.5/5, which at a price of $35 isn’t bad. I wouldn’t mind drinking this every day, and I gift it and bring it to friendly dinners quite often.

Cannonau di Sardegna 2018 (Sardinia, Italy.) I rate this one 4.5/5, however at a price of $18, it means it’s a really good bargain.

Governo Toscana Rosso 2017 (Toscana, Italy.) I rate this one 4.5/5, which at a price of $15 makes it the best bargain on this list.

Meiomi Pinot Noir 2017 (California, USA.) I would give this one a 4.4/5. It costs $21 and is my go-to wine for casual drinking.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2013 (Montepulciano, Italy.) This one I would give a 4.3/5. It’s dry, tannic and smoother than I expected. It costs $30.

Catena Cabernet Sauvignon (Mendoza, Argentina.) I rate this one a 4/5. It’s a nice and smooth Cabernet, and quite budget friendly at only $19.

Now, what would an article written by me be if it didn’t mention food? One of the things I love about red wine is finding different pairings with some of my favorite foods. I use the Vivino app to find wines that pair with a specific meal. Alcohol is something that can often be abused and can bring many negative effects to the body and mind. But having a glass of wine with a nice dinner isn’t something that health conscious people should feel guilty about. It brings a lot of pleasure and is actually quite healthy! If you have any questions about healthy wine drinking, feel free to ask below.

 

References:

Alcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits. (2020, November 12). The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/drinks-to-consume-in-moderation/alcohol-full-story/

Contribution of Red Wine Consumption to Human Health Protection. (2018, July 1). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6099584/

Ferrières, J. (2004, January 1). The French paradox: lessons for other countries. Education in Heart. https://heart.bmj.com/content/90/1/107

Red wine: A drink to your heart. (2010). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3023893/

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