Those who consume cabernet or Chianti on regular basis must have breathed a booze-infused sigh of relief at some point over the past decade. According to some recent studies, a balanced amount of red wine provides amazing health benefits, such as thwarting certain cancers, preventing neurological diseases like Alzheimer`s disease, protecting the heart, and slowing the effects of aging. On the other hand, as the evidence supporting red wine as the next wheat grass juice keep emerging, the white-wine drinkers start to wonder if the wines, such as viognier, chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc, provide some medical benefits as well, or they are just empty calories like Beaujolais and Bordeaux.
For Your Heart
White-wine drinkers will be happy to learn that white wine provides some medical advantages as well. As believed by many leading researchers, this alcoholic beverage is as healthy as its red counterpart. According to the white wine`s two main health experts, Dipak K. Das, MD, director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Connecticut; and Alberto A.E. Bertelli, MD, of the University of Milan, the white wine has similar cardio-protective effects as red wine. It prevents heart attacks and other health conditions linked to the heart, blood vessels, and the kidneys.
It is interesting to mention that white wine`s cardio-boosting properties don’t stem from the same compounds that have made red wine an amazing beverage among nutritionists and doctors. Red wine is made from both pulp and skin of crushed grapes, while white wine is extracted only from the pulp. White wine is low in rasveratrol, the grape-skin antioxidant which is known to give red wine its heart-healthy and anti-aging properties. On the other hand, white wine contains two potent antioxidants: hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol. These compounds are also present in olive oil, but not in red wine. The white-wine experts Das and Bertelli believe that white wine and Mediterranean diet (rich in olive oil) are so good for the health thanks to the presence of these two potent antioxidants.
For Your Health
During the investigation on white wine`s cardiovascular benefits, Das and Bertelli learned that the consumption of white wine stimulates the gene Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), gene that slows the aging process. Initially, scientists believed that only wines with reseratrol, such as red wine, activate this gene. As stated by Das, white wine also prevents and regulates diabetes. A current research suggests that this drink may boost the immune system, it acts as an antiviral agent, and it increases blood flow in patients with kidney problems. Moreover, studies done in the past six years have found that balanced consumption of both red and white wine can increase cognitive function in the elderly, lower the risk of developing ovarian cancer in woman, and prevent the growth of streptococci, bacteria which causes sore throats and tooth decay.
According to Arthur Klatsky, MD, a cardiologist and epidemiologist with Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Oakland, California, what makes wine healthy is partially the alcohol itself. Klatsky, who has studied the relationship between human health and alcohol since the 1960s, says: “Light drinking seems to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, and there are a few studies that suggest light alcohol consumption is associated with a lower rate of stroke. Alcohol also raises good HDL cholesterol and helps with anticlotting.” He also agrees that there are benefits to light-to moderate consumption of any alcoholic drink. He defines moderate drinking as no more than two 5-ounce glasses of wine on daily basis for men, and one 5-ounce glass a day for women.
An additional research which supports Klatsky`s claim has found that moderate consumption of alcohol can lower the mortality rate in men, improve bone density in women, increase antioxidant absorption, and reduce levels of the bacteria that cause peptic ulcers.
In order to reduce your exposure to toxins and to help protect the environment as well, opt for a white wine made with organic grapes, as they are grown and processed without pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Wine that is biodynamic is also a good choice, as it preserves the vineyard`s complete ecosystem. As suggested by Deborah Gavito, founder and wine director of the first organic bar in the country, Counter Vegetable Bistro and Organic Bar in New York City, there are six organic or biodynamic white wines that will help your heart and temp your palate.
This dry white wine is made from garganega grapes and it was used by Bertelli in his research. Being light and delicate, it is best served as an aperitif or paired with a pasta, salad, or seafood.
- Soave Classico “Vigne di Mezzane” Corte Sant` Alda (2005). It is organic and it blends hints of minerals, apple, fresh hay, and almond.
- You can also try Inama Soave Classico (2007), which is also organic and it combines notes of minerals, pear, and apple blossoms.
Chardonnay is definitely the most known and most popular white wine in the US. It is bold and buttery, available both unoaked and oaked, depending on the type of barrel wood in which it was stored. It is usually paired with dishes and seafood plates with buttery base.
- Grgich Hills Chardonnay Napa Valley (2006). This wine is biodynamic and it combines floral notes with minerals, honey, and lemon.
- La Soufrandriere Poully-Vinzelles is a biodynamic white wine from France and it tastes like ripe peaches aged with minerals and hazelnut.
Aromatic torrontes is becoming more and more popular among restaurant lists and liquor stores worldwide. It pairs with spicy foods, such as Indian and Thai, South American tapas, and smoked cheese and meats. Some torrontes drinkers prefer the wine as a stand-alone before-dinner drink.
- Michel Torino “Cuma” Torrontes (2008). This white wine is an organic fragrant drink which combines aromas of orchard fruit, jasmines, orange skins, and roses.
- Yellow+Blue Torrontes (2008). This organic white wine blends tastes of orange blossom, peach, cantaloupe, and pineapple.
Alcohol and Breast Cancer
Women should known that a recent research found a link between alcohol consumption and an increased risk of breast cancer. According to Arthur Klatsky, a cardiologist and epidemiologist in Oakland, California, heavy drinking, and to some extent light to moderate drinking, does increase a woman`s risk of breast cancer. He adds: “But as women age, the risk of heart attack goes up, and the risk-benefit equation shifts. A woman over 50 is at a substantially greater risk of having a heart attack than she is of developing breast cancer, so she will lower her overall mortality if she is a light to moderate drinker.”