There’s not much better than a full-bodied glass of Pinot Noir on a warm summer evening, or a fragrant and fruity Shiraz to pair with a delicious selection of cheeses. Aside from its layered sensory profile and wonderfully rich palate, however, red wine has long been known to possess health benefits that make each sip that much sweeter. But are the claims really true? Is red wine good for you?
While there is a necessity for balance and responsibility with all wine drinking, red wine has been shown to be a healthier option than other types of alcohol for a number of reasons. Here, we explore five red wine benefits and how they can serve your health as well as your taste buds.
Perhaps the most well-known health benefit of red wine is its anti-inflammatory assets. Red wine is packed full of plant-based nutrients called polyphenols, which possess strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, red wine has at least ten times more polyphenols than white wine. This is due in part to the length of time spent in contact with the skins and seeds of grapes used in the red winemaking process, allowing the vintages to soak in more of the nutrient-rich fruits and enzymes before transitioning to the bottle.
According to Better Health, maintaining an antioxidant-rich diet has been shown to aid in reducing the risk of many diseases, including certain cancers, and to neutralise damage-inflicting free radicals. Combined with their anti-inflammatory properties which assist in reducing inflammation in the body, antioxidants are one of the best things we can include in our diets - and the occasional glass of good quality red wine can certainly help with that!
Another key element to its antioxidant benefits is red wine’s proven assistance in heart health. Research suggests that polyphenol-rich red wine has been linked to reduced risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) by boosting the body’s ‘good’ cholesterol and helping it flush out the ‘bad’ cholesterol (the latter being responsible for stroke and heart disease). The polyphenols found in red wine may also strengthen heart vessels and improve blood flow, another direct contributor to lowering the risk of CHD. Next time you’re wondering, ‘Is wine good for you?’ just remember that red-red connection between a good glass of red and your heart health.
One of our favourite red wine benefits is its ability to enhance cognitive function. This isn’t to say that relaxing with a couple of bottles of 2020 Lakeside Vineyard Pinot Noir will have you clear and sharp, but rather that small, responsibly drunk quantities of quality red wine can have positive long-term impacts on brain function.
Recent studies demonstrate that small amounts of red wine incorporated into the diet can improve short-term memory, quality of sleep and even reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This is largely due to a property called resveratrol found in red wine polyphenols, a particularly potent anti-inflammatory for certain chemicals in the brain.
We all know the importance of maintaining good bacteria in the gut for overall health, but is red wine healthy for the digestive system? Recent research shows that red wine’s ‘rich and varied polyphenol content’ has positive effects on digestive health. The study found that antimicrobial properties in red wine polyphenols had beneficial effects on gut flora, encouraging good bacteria to flourish which in turn helps our system to flush out bad bacteria.
As well as contributing to reduced risk of heart and brain diseases, those magical polyphenols (particularly resveratrol) in red wine can also help to combat a host of age-related illnesses. When consumed in moderation, red wine has been linked to lowering risk for liver disease, type two diabetes and age-inflicted Alzheimer’s.
Research suggests that moderate red wine intake also ‘increases the expression of key longevity-related genes’. While more research is needed in this field, it’s a great sign for our red wine drinkers and perhaps a reason for our white wine connoisseurs to broaden their palates into the world of red.
So, is red wine good for you? The short answer: yes, in moderation. At Brokenwood, we know how to have fun and drink great wine responsibly, the latter of which is a key element in these fabulous health benefits.
Ready to explore the wonderful world of red wines? Take your senses on a delicious adventure this year with our selection of vintages, all while serving your health in the best way possible. Shop our red wines online or visit our Cellar Door for an immersive tasting experience.