Red wine's health benefits
Adapted from: www.red-wine-and-health.com
Red wine's effect on heart disease,
blood pressure, cholesterol and stroke.
Red wine's effect on colon cancer,
prostate cancer, melanoma and leukemia.
Resveratrol and Other Red Wine Antioxidants
One of the most studied antioxidants in red wine is resveratrol, a compound
found in the seeds and skins of grapes. Red wine has a high concentration
of resveratrol because the skins and seeds ferment in the grapes' juices
during the red wine-making process. This prolonged contact during fermentation
produces significant levels of resveratrol in the finished red wine. White
wine also contains resveratrol, but the seeds and skins are removed early
in the white wine-making process, reducing the concentration of the compound
in the finished white wine.
Antioxidants, like resveratrol, are beneficial in preventing harmful
elements in the body from attacking healthy cells. Found in red wine,
peanuts, blueberries and cranberries, resveratrol is easily absorbed by
the human body. The antioxidant properties of resveratrol also offer certain
health benefits in the prevention of heart disease and the reduction of
lung tissue inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The Phytoestrogen Effect
Resveratrol is also known as a phytoestrogen. In the 1940s scientists
found that phytoestrogens are able to bind to estrogen receptors acting
like the estrogen that is naturally produced in the body. Therefore, diets
that include red wine may benefit certain conditions affected by a decrease
in natural estrogen including menopause, breast cancer, osteoporosis and
cardiovascular disease. Moderate amounts of red wine, such as a glass
per day, may provide enough resveratrol to protect against estrogen depletion
in the body.
Red wine also contains other antioxidants. Researchers are finding new
ways to isolate these antioxidants and study their health
benefits. One of these antioxidants, a flavanoid known as catechin, is
abundant in red wine and green tea. Research indicates that, along with
resveratrol, catechin plays an important role in reducing the risk of
heart disease. Saponins, found in red wine, olive oil and soybeans, offer
protective benefits for the heart and are easily absorbed by the body.
Yet another antioxidant present in red wine, called guercetin, is being
studied for its value in the prevention of lung cancer.
About Sulphur (from material provided by Avonmore)
Natural levels of sulphur found in wines are 17 ppm fixed sulphur and
33 ppm free; thus there is no such thing as sulphur-free wine. Avonmore
adds another 10 ppm of free sulphur to make 60 ppm. When you air the bottle
(or your glass), the free sulphur effervesces, leaving the fixed only.
Non-organic wines have a minimum of 100 ppm, up to 300ppm. For scale,
17 ppm, what is left over after airing, is 50 meters on a direct walk
from Melbourne to Darwin.
Modern agricultural practices, now called 'conventional' but only in
use for the last fifty years, have stripped the minerals essential for
healthy crops from the soil, necessitating the increasing use of artificial
help to replace what has been lost. In addition to what artificial fertilizers
strip from the soil, seventeen insecticides, fumigants, and herbicides
are currently being used in conventional wine grape production.
Many consumers are not aware of the fact that grapes are one of the most
heavily sprayed crops around, and that when pesticides are sprayed on
the grape skins to protect them from pests and disease, they end up as
residue in the wine (by being washed from the grapes as they are pressed
or put in the vat). In addition to contact pesticides, there are also
systemic pesticides which penetrate the plant and end up in the grape
pulp, and inevitably as residue in the wine. A number of these chemicals
are of great concern because they are suspected carcinogens.