For years, red wine drinkers have seemingly held a corner on the health market as the benefits of drinking moderate amounts of the stuff has continuously been researched, touted and researched anew. For the white wine drinker, a glass or two of a favorite varietal has previously only been justifiable as a delight to the taste buds. The playing field, however, may be leveling. Recent studies reveal that white wine boosts health almost as much as red wine and in different capacities.
So, drink up white wine lovers, and arm yourselves with these health-related talking points. The next time you find yourself seated at a dinner beside a red wine drinker putting on airs, you’ll find you can keep your blood pressure low, your mind razor sharp, your waist trim and your lungs pink and fresh — all thanks to the health-boosting antioxidants in white wine.
Red wine isn’t the only drink on the heart-helping list. According to researchers at the University of Milan, white wine’s heart-protecting qualities are every bit as good as red’s. Unlike red wine’s abundance of resveratrol — an antioxidant that keeps blood vessels free of plaque and cholesterol levels in healthy ranges — the antioxidants tyrosol and hydroxytrysol are the workhorses of white wine. Also found in olive oil, these two compounds put white wine in line with red wine in the good-for-your-heart category.
It’s All in Your Brain
When it comes to preventing brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia, a glass of white or sparkling wine is like a miniature time machine that whisks your brain back a few years to when it had youth on its side. Certain white and sparkling wines contain a memory-aiding compound called phenolic acid, which has been proven to boost concentration and spatial working memory — the part of your brain that remembers how to keep you oriented in your environment. Coupled with a regular diet of brainteasers, a few glasses a week seem to provide a bit of protection against senility.
Weight Loss Assistant
Far from contributing to a beer gut, one study found that drinking white wine appears to assist people who are actively trying to lose weight, while still other researchers have found that women who drink moderate amounts — say one to two glasses a day — are less likely to gain weight over time than are nondrinkers. This finding is most extreme among middle-aged women, for whom drinking a glass or two of white wine every day cuts their risk of becoming overweight by one third. Interestingly, the same doesn’t appear to hold true for men because the alcohol in wine speeds up a woman’s metabolism. Unlike men, women make a smaller number of the enzymes needed to digest and metabolize alcohol, so their bodies must keep making it, which requires an extra expenditure of calories. Thermogenesis, which is the process by which the alcohol in wine and other boozy delights raises the drinker’s body temperature, also necessitates the burning of energy.
Fresh, New Lungs
White wine drinkers have healthier lungs than teetotalers, beer drinkers, liquor lovers and those who prefer red wine. While scientists aren’t entirely sure of the reason behind this, they think it has something to do with white wine’s abundance of nutrients and antioxidants that clear out toxins in the bloodstream and alleviate inflammation in the airways, both of which affect lung health positively.
There are many reasons beyond simple good taste to partake in a glass of white wine, but if you really want to double down on the health benefits, make the following considerations when choosing a grape or vineyard:
- Choose organic grapes. Part of what makes drinking white wine so good for you is that it is rich in antioxidants that combat free radicals which cause disease. By choosing organic grapes, you’re ensuring the wine itself doesn’t contain any harmful, residual toxins from chemicals or pesticides.
- Choose biodynamic grapes. Part of being able to have a healthy mind and body is living in a healthy world. Biodynamic grapes are those that have been grown, harvested and processed in such a way as to preserve, protect and sustain the vineyard’s ecosystem.
White wine drinkers, be proud of your beverage. From chardonnays to muscadets, white wine — when it comes to benefitting your health — is finally just as good a choice as red.
About the Author: Lydia Carl is a regular contributor to health magazines and practiced sommelier with a taste for white wine.