Have you heard of the “French paradox”? Although the French have quite of an unhealthy diet, with lots of wine and rich
in saturated fat food, the incidence and mortality rate from cardiac diseases in the country is very low. After the “French paradox” was described in the 80’s, it was followed by a real boom in research that traces the connection between wine consumption and maintaining good health. Indeed, this is the beneficial factor, responsible for the health and longevity of the French.

 

The main directions developed by the scientists are the influence of wine on the cardiovascular system, inflammatory and metabolic disorders, some cases of cancer and diabetes type 2. Dermatology is following suite: over 20 ingredients, found in the vine and grapes are used to fight various skin conditions and skin ageing. Research is expanding the scope of what is known about the benefits of wine drinking and also adds little known aspects. The European project IMMIDIET has found a positive relationship between wine consumption and the concentration of Omega-3 in the red blood cells. Other research traces the effect of red wine on preventing tooth decay, strengthening of the immune system and decreasing the incidence of developing depression.

Wine contains over 500 polyphenols, most of which have positive effect on human health. Resveratrol has the best documented effects: the benefits of wine drinking are related to the antioxidant properties of resveratrol and its ability to block the free radicals. It is a common belief that red wine consumption brings better health effects, compared to white or rose wine. However, the white and rose wine drinkers can relax: they also get all the good ingredients from their favourite Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon-based rose wine. The difference is that the positive effect stems from the action of other compounds: the polyphenols tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol. There is no universal formula that determines which wines and grape varieties are highest in resveratrol – the latter can be found not only in the skins of the red wine varieties. The white varieties also contain resveratrol but in lower concentration. Because of the different vinification methods with shorter or no contact with the skins, these wines have less resveratrol. In rose wine the resveratrol content is between 0,4 to 3 mg/l and in white wine it varies between 0,05 to 1,80mg/l. Red wines contain 2-13 mg/l resveratrol where the thicker-skinned varieties are richer in polyphenols. Some varieties are naturally higher in resveratrol - such are Pinot Noir and St. Laurent.

Grapes grown in cooler climate and in cooler vintages are richer in resveratrol than those coming from hot and dry conditions. The resveratrol concentration varies not only in between climate and varieties but also from one vintage to another. Although the recommended daily dosage of resveratrol is not defined, different researches quote that 25 to 150 mg are sufficient. It would be a strong marketing tool if producers indicate the resveratrol content on their labels. Wine consumption brings not only health benefits but also positive experiences. The culture of wine drinking enriches and educates. Wine consumed in moderation, brings sensatory pleasure: each bottle contains not only health but history.

Elissaveta Zaharieva