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To Drink or Not to Drink? Quick Findings on Wine & Health

Now that I’m waving the clean eating flag, I have found many substitutions to satisfy sweet and savory cravings. However, I’m holding on dearly to my one splurge – red wine. Ask health professionals, doctors and super-fit friends their take on alcohol and you will find mixed reviews. In an effort to feel good about my wine tasting hobby and clarify some of the information on wine and health, here are my key findings.

Wine Research: To Drink or Not to Drink? Quick Findings on Wine & Health

Yale New Haven Hospital Website or the Mayo Clinic Website: Red wines, specifically Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, seem to have the most traction in the news for carrying the most healthy benefits. Flavonoids (antioxidants) are present in the skin and seeds of red grapes, which can lower bad cholesterol (LDL,) increase good cholesterol (HDL) and reduce blood clotting by influencing lipid proteins if drank with a meal. In addition, the skin of the grape has resveratrol, which may have slight tumor shrinking abilities and may decrease inflammation.

U.S. National Library of Medicine: Don’t super-size your glass
One four-ounce glass for women, two four-ounce glasses for men per day is considered a serving size. Most likely the glass poured at a restaurant is at least two serving sizes.

The Nurses’ Health Study: Some risks
Some research summarizes that moderate alcohol, including wine, may increase breast cancer risk. My understanding is that there are many variables, which often relate to a function of estrogen hormone levels rising. It has also been noted that having a diet high in folate, (green leafy vegetables) may negate this. In the Nurses’ Health Study, women who drank one alcoholic beverage a day and had the highest levels of B vitamin in their blood were 90 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those who had the lowest levels of the B vitamin. If you are undergoing breast cancer treatment or at risk, discuss with your doctor for more information; there is a lot out there. I found these summaries interesting from the Harvard School of Public Health Website and the California Wineries Website.

Dr. Weil: Choose organic or sulfite free wine
Since I eat all clean and only buy organic grapes, why wouldn’t I buy organic wine? Those winemaking grapes could be sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides used on other conventionally grown crops. My favorites organic wines are: Cono Sur Cabernet Sauvignon and Natura Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wine isn’t a medical magic potion
I haven’t found a study that says, “drink wine to greatly better your health.” If one is looking to increase wellness, lifestyle tweaks seem most important including: a balanced diet, stopping smoking and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol. These will do far more to prevent ailments than drinking wine. Of course, since I enjoy wine, many believe that in moderation it will not hurt.

Have you tried organic wine? Would you change your drink of choice to be more healthy?

* Please note, I’m not a doctor or medical marvel, just have an interest in health and wellness. See my disclaimer for more information. Talk to your doctor to learn more or check the other sources used: Anti-cancer by David Servan-Schrieber MD, PHD, The Cancer Recovery Plan by D. Barry Boyd, M.D., the Harvard School of Public Health Website and the National Institute of Health Website.

16 Comments

  1. Ann Dunne

    Hi Caryn! I am so glad you posted this because I was just thinking the other day about organic wine! Trader Joe’s has a couple of good ones on their label. I am going to try the two you suggested. Cheers!!!

  2. Caryn Sullivan

    Definitely let me know what you think of Trader Joe’s organic wines. I don’t think they sell wines at the TJ’s by us, so would love your feedback! Happy (almost) Friday!

  3. I can only drink Organic sufite free wine, I’m allergic. I get hives, the worst!!! Love this post!
    Kristen recently posted…5 Summer Saving Beach Hacks For Parents

    • Thanks. My favorite organic wines are the ones that are not sulfite free. As you know, some wines are almost sulfite-free less likely to trigger headaches, rashes and itching. Badger Mountain is decent and cost-effective, too.

  4. Very interesting! I’m not really a drinker, but I’m intrigued by organic wine :)
    Akaleistar recently posted…5 Easy Ways to Enjoy Sandal Season

  5. I’m not a wine drinker, but I do enjoy a good apple cider. However, I’m trying to lessen my already quite low intake of spirits. :)
    XOXO

    • I love apple cider, too. Do you drink Apple Cider Vinegar…not the same sweet taste, but it has so many healthy properties.

  6. Organic wine is a thing? Wow!
    Well I used to live near wine country in California and I adored being there. I don’t drink wine, though. I wish I liked it more.
    Tamara recently posted…Being Active Year Round.

    • Yes, organic wine is made from organically grown grapes without the pesticides and sustainably grown practices are often used. It doesn’t “keep” as well, but if you open a bottle, the wine does taste good that day.

  7. I agree moderation and living well is the best! I have seen some of those “studies” showing that it is good for your health to drink a little wine every day and it makes me think I ought to take it up. I don’t drink, but there are some days that I think not even a super size glass would take the edge off. Maybe that is a good reason for me to perhaps steer clear :)
    Jen recently posted…How NOT To Do Summer

    • The research I’ve done on red wine has to do with the resveratrol in the grape skin. You can get those health benefits by eating grapes, too. Yes, drinking wine does take the edge off…but so does yoga, breathing techniques and a high intensity workout…so I would recommend the latter first. I actually also LOVE tea with peppermint essential oil, it has the overpowering refreshing/effervescent feeling that does knock the edge off a little, too.

  8. I’ve never tried organic wine but I did challenge my readers to drink a glass of red wine before bed for a week. Surprisingly I found it hard to keep up the habit, I would be in bed and remember I hadn’t had my wine, one day turned into two days and I skipped almost 4 days without one sip. Thanks for sharing your research with us Caryn

    • Thanks Mary. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I would love to hear more about your challenges. Are they all health related?

  9. I’m not into wine but reading this got me curious. That organic wine seems so healthy.

    • Wine made with organic grapes is better than wine made with grapes sprayed with pesticide…that’s for sure. I try and drink lots of water throughout the day and green juices to keep the nutrients running through my body.

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