One More Reason to Love the Mediterranean

I’m sure most of you by now have heard various health benefits you can gain by consuming wine from those that feel they need to justify drinking it. No justification is necessary. Most cited resources will make reference to health benefits regarding red wines rather than white due to several reasons. Firstly, white wine usually contains higher residual sugar levels than most reds (excluding anything with the words “yellow” and “tail.”) And secondly, white wine does not contain any of the health-benefitting chemicals (yes, chemicals) that red wine contains. Red wines are red because of the colour from the grape skins leech into the wine. Along with the rich colour comes polyphenols, better known as tannins. While polyphenols contribute to mouth feel and overall taste, they also have been found to be an antioxidant. Resveratrol is a well-known polyphenol that has been of interest to the scientific community for years. Resveratrol is reported to protect against coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease, and some studies go so far to say that it is an anti-demetia agent.* It is found in its largest concentration in Pinot Noirs, Merlots, and Zweigeltrebe.

So what does this have to do with the Mediterranean? Well, lucky for your waistline there happens to be a diet that encourages you to consume wine on a daily basis. And when I say diet, I mean it more of a “way of eating” rather than cutting out what you love. The Mediterranean diet has been practiced for centuries in the area surrounding the Mediterranean. Studies have shown that people that live in this area have lower levels of cardiovascular disease, lower risk of contracting some cancers, and live healthier lives than those living anywhere else. I will include further links for more information on this lifestyle below. The general idea is:

• meats, eggs, and sweets are eaten only a few times each week, making the diet low in saturated fats and refined sugars

• olive oil is the predominately used fat, making the diet high in monounsaturated fats (the best kind!)

• foods eaten daily include grains, fruits, legumes, nuts, vegetables, cheese, and yes: Wine! *they recommend 1-2 glasses of red wine per day

This diet, with the help of the monounsaturated fats and antioxidants found in the food and wine, helps lower levels of LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein, aka the bad kind) cholesterol and raise levels of HDL (High Density Lipoprotein, aka the good kind) cholesterol.

A key term I have only hinted at must now be brought up: Moderation. With excessive drinking comes weight gain, deterioration of lifestyle, and elevated risks for many diseases. Conservatively drinking can be very enjoyable, but as they say ‘know your limit.’ While most of the journals I have researched did not condone drinking, I am a hearty advocate, therefore cheers.

– Calli

*Tomera, J. F. (1999). Current knowledge of the health benefits and disadvantages of wine consumption. Trends in Food Science and Technology. Vol. 10, 4-5, p. 129-138. Retrieved from:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924224499000357

Mediterranean diet: Choose this heart-healthy diet option
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mediterranean-diet/CL00011

One More Reason to Love the Mediterranean