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Red Wine Versus White Wine: What’s Healthier?

Ever wondered how red wine stacks up against white wine when it comes to health benefits? It is reported that 71 percent of wine drinkers in United States choose red wine, and this majority is on the right track when it comes to the health benefits wine offers. Studies show that the compound resveratrol, found abundantly in red grapes (and blueberries), offers several heath benefits, including antioxidant properties that may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and may even may help prevent cancer. A two-year animal study found that when a daily dose of resveratrol was administered (the equivalent of two glasses of red wine daily), the risk of developing cancerous tumors went down 50%.

So next time you choose a glass of wine, opt for red for more health benefits, and consider these varietals:

Pinot Noir: It consistently has the highest concentrations of resveratrol, especially if the grapes come from cool, rainy climates (think Oregon’s Willamette Valley or New York’s Fingerlakes Region rather than California’s Napa Valley).

Cabernets, Merlots and Syrahs: While they come from different grapes (Cabernet is made from tannat grapes, Merlot is made from blue grapes, and Syrah is flavored with black currants), all contain high levels of procyanidins – an antioxidant that has been linked to longevity and cardiovascular and arterial health.

In addition, seek out dry wines – they tend to have higher levels of flavonoids, which are beneficial to heart health and cholesterol levels. Sweeter wines tend to have lower levels of flavonoids.

In my Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid I recommend organic red wine, and limiting your intake to no more than one, or at most two, servings per day. And if you do not drink alcohol, do not start for health reasons, as these health effects are subtle and one can enjoy excellent cardiovascular health without them.

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Do You Really Know How Much Wine You’re Drinking?

A new study on the subject of wine consumption shows that informal servings differ based on the size of the glass you’re usingUnless you’re measuring carefully, you may not have a clue. A new study on the subject of wine consumption shows that informal servings differ based on the size of the glass you’re using, whether you are holding the glass as you pour or whether you’re pouring red wine or white. Researchers at Cornell University and Iowa State University looked into the wine-serving issue and published their results online on September 12, 2013 in the journal Substance & Abuse. They asked students to do the pouring and here’s what they found: study participants poured about 12 percent more wine into a wide glass than a standard wine glass. They also poured more when they were holding the glass than when it was standing on a table. And when pouring white wine into a clear glass, they poured about 9 percent more than they did when pouring red. (Here, color contrast is believed responsible for the difference.) The researchers also found that wine drinkers focus more on vertical than horizontal measures and tend to consume less when they drink from a narrow glass because the serving appears larger than it actually is. For the record, a standard serving of wine is five ounces. If you want to make sure you don’t over-imbibe here are two tips from the researchers: use narrow wine glasses and pour only when the glass is on a table, not in your hand. Alternatively, measure five ounces of wine into a glass you already own and note the height of the liquid; use that observation as a rough measure in the future.

Brian Wansink et al “Half Full or Empty: Cues That Lead Wine Drinkers to Unintentionally Overpour,” Substance Use & Misuse, doi:10.3109/10826084.2013.832327