We often ask ourselves if wine is good or bad for our health, but as usual, the answer lies in moderation. Let’s see why.
Italy is the land of good wine, as the admirers of this drink know well, which probably has its origins in Prehistory. In fact, is known all over the world for the production of excellent wines, from north to south, many of which with the PDO designation. Many of us, in fact, could not give up a glass of wine to sip during meals.
Wine, as we all know, is an alcoholic beverage that is obtained from the fermentation of grape must. It is mainly composed (for about 90%) of water and then of alcohol, in variable quantities depending on the wine, from about 4 to 15%.
It also contains bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances, including the well-known resveratrol. There is no lack of mineral salts such as manganese, potassium and iron, and vitamins, including those of group B.
Is drinking a glass of wine with meals good or bad for your health?
We often discuss, with sometimes conflicting statements, the properties of wine and the benefits it can bring to our health. It is in fact a fairly consolidated idea that a glass of red wine with meals is able to protect the cardiovascular system and this theory is based on the content that wine has of antioxidants, which are known to have protective effects for our health.
However, we must not forget that wine contains alcohol, and even in greater quantities than polyphenols, and it is known that alcohol causes serious damage to health. The belief that red wine is good for the heart derives from an old French study which concluded that despite the French leading a diet rich in saturated fat due to the large amount of cheeses they use, they developed cardiovascular diseases to a lesser extent than to Americans who still led a high-fat diet, but did not make the same use of red wine, which instead the sample of French individuals involved in the study consumed.
Probably, therefore, the French benefited from the positive effects of the resveratrol contained in wine. In this study, however, the consequences of the use of wine on the health of the gastrointestinal tract and the liver, an organ that metabolizes alcohol, were not taken into consideration. Although many studies seem to demonstrate the effectiveness of red wine consumption on the wellbeing of the cardiovascular system, we must not therefore forget what the negative effects of alcohol may be.
We also consider that wine is a caloric drink, so if we are overweight and follow a low-calorie diet, it would certainly be better to do without it in favor of the consumption of other foods that offer us expendable calories in energy terms.
In conclusion, if we have no particular health problems and we are not overweight, drinking up to a glass of wine a day during a meal could bring some benefits to the cardiovascular system. The important thing, as we have seen, is not to exceed in quantities.
Better red or white?
Unlike white wine, red wine is particularly rich in antioxidant compounds, such as resveratrol and tannins, compounds that white wine also contains, but to a lesser extent. Red wine, in fact, derives from a process in which the grapes are fermented together with the seeds and skins, which in the case of white wine are eliminated before fermentation, and it is the skins and seeds that contain more antioxidants. For this reason, red wine usually contains more bioactive compounds.
Having been part of the Mediterranean culture and tradition for centuries, wine is a precious heritage of our lands and if consumed occasionally it is not bad for health, except in particular cases or in the presence of certain pathologies (for example affecting the liver). but the advice is to make a moderate use of it and in any case not to consider it a means to improve one’s health.