When it comes to alcoholic beverages, did you know certain types of red wine can reduce some health problems while helping you unwind? Enjoying a glass of wine isn’t just a great way to relax after a long day. It also has a variety of amazing health benefits! But when it comes to benefiting your heart, not all red wines are a good fit. If you’re looking for a delicious wine that’s also good for you, try one of these red wines for health benefits to your heart.
With that said, the American Heart Association suggests that if you don’t drink already, you shouldn’t add in alcoholic drinks — even the healthiest red wines — before consulting your doctor.
Heart Health Benefits of Red Wine
There are a variety of different ways red wine can benefit your heart health, as well as your overall health and well being. That’s because wine is made up of polyphenols, which are naturally occurring compounds that have antioxidant properties. The polyphenols, like resveratrol and procyanidins, found in red wine are linked to several health benefits.
Drinking a glass of red wine each day has been shown to:
- Boost your good cholesterol
- Lower your bad cholesterol levels
- Reduce the chances of blood clots
- Balance your blood sugar levels
- Help promote a stronger microbiome
- Reduce the risk of cancer in some cases
- Help maintain long-term mental acuity
- Boost your immune system and fight free radicals
- Fight against obesity
But before you grab your favorite red wine, it’s a good idea to take a look at the bottle you’re sipping from.
The most heart-healthy red wines often consist of similar characteristics, like:
Most healthy red wines are considered dry. That means they’re fermented longer than sweet wines, allowing the fermentation process to reduce the amount of residual sugar left in the final product. In addition to being less sweet, these wines often lack the fruity flavor found in other types of sweet red wine.
Tannins give red wine an astringent quality that often causes a scratchy sensation on your tongue as you sip. These tannins come from the grape skins – grapes with a thicker skin typically produce more tannins.
High levels of polyphenols.
Most heart-healthy red wines feature high levels of polyphenols. But those high levels sometimes come with a more bitter taste in the wine.
How Much Red Wine is Good for You?
There is a fine balance between enjoying a healthy amount of red wine and too much. The recommended daily serving of red wine is four to five ounces per day. When serving your red wine in a traditional wine glass, this amount reaches the widest part of the glass.
While that amount is often regarded as the standard, the healthy amount of red wine consumed per day by men and women can vary slightly based on their body size and metabolism. While women are recommended to stick to the four to five ounce guidelines, men can have up to 10 ounces per day without negative side effects.
And just as enjoying the correct amount of wine can have positive side effects, drinking too much red wine could negatively impact your health. In fact, consuming more than two glasses of red wine per day over an extended period of time could lead to liver damage, hypertension, weight gain, or other health problems. That’s why it’s important to enjoy these healthy wines in moderation.
Which red wine is the healthiest?
While red wine provides a variety of amazing benefits, the most heart-healthy wine varieties are ones that have high levels of resveratrol and procyanidins.
These red wines are often considered the healthiest options:
1. Pinot Noir
Often considered the healthiest wine you can drink, pinot noir usually features high levels of resveratrol. And since the grapes used to make Pinot often start out with less sugar, it also has a lower alcohol by volume and fewer calories than most other red wine varieties.
Another popular option for heart-healthy wine is Merlot. This type of wine is often full-bodied and usually features notes of plum and cherry. And since Merlot is one of the most popular wines around the world, you can find a delicious variety just about anywhere you go. Merlot often features high levels of both procyanidin and resveratrol, both of which promote cardiovascular health.
3. Cabernet Sauvignon
Thanks to its high levels of resveratrol and low sugar levels, Cabernet is another popular choice for a healthy wine option. This dry red wine can provide a host of cardiovascular benefits when enjoyed in moderation.
Since Malbec grapes have some of the thickest skins of all grape varieties, they are packed with antioxidants. In fact, this wine variety often contains four times the antioxidant content as a merlot. Typically grown in Argentina and Chile, these grapes produce a smooth wine with notes of black cherry and blackberry.
With its origins in Italy, Barbera wines are one of the healthiest red wine options thanks to the barrel aging process. Since the grapes use to make Barbera are very acidic, they must be aged in oak barrels, which results in soft, bright notes. And the growing conditions of those grapes, including the Italian soil and elevation levels of the vineyards, results in extremely high levels of resveratrol, making this wine variety another heart-healthy option.
6. Petite Sirah
Petite Sirah packs tannins, antioxidants, and resveratrol, as well as, polyphenols and antioxidants linked to reducing the chances of cardiovascular disease. This wine is pretty bold and tastes dry and even bitter. So if you prefer a dry wine, this is different one to try! Petite Sirahs often have a higher alcohol content than other varieties as well — around 15%.
Having pasta? Check out our The Best Wine With Spaghetti and Pasta Guide!
Does White Wine Have the Same Benefits?
In short – white wine doesn’t have the same benefits. You really need the tannins, polyphenols, and flavonoids to get the cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Sweet red wines also don’t pack as many beneficial effects either. You really need a dry red variety.
Moderate red wine consumption can offer some heart health benefits and offer to boost your immune system because of their antioxidants. The benefits reduce risk of heart disease.
They healthiest red wines include pinot noir, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, barbera, and petite sirah. We prefer smaller brands and wineries because some offer fresher wines with less sulfites.
Even these best wines for heart health should be consumed in moderation – no more than once a day. That is where recent studies have noted positive effects. If you’re not a wine drinker already, it’s not encouraged to start drinking.
You can find a dry healthy red wine at the grocery store or liquor store. Don’t be afraid to try a new flavor or brand or ask an expert in the store.
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