Active Seniors

50 shades of grapes

It seems that there are conflicting sets of information regarding the consumption of wine and its effects on health. However when considering this debate, it is important to look into a few important factors which can affect the “health benefits” associated with wine consumption.

Physical Activity of the Consumer

The first factor to consider is the physical activity level of the person consuming wine. While this may seem completely irrelevant to wine, a study called “In Vino Veritas” looked at the effects of wine on peoples bodies. The results indicated that drinking wine by itself did not have favourable effects on cholesterol, blood glucose, inflammatory markers or triglycerides. However if the person performed regular exercise twice a week and introduced controlled wine consumption (red or white wine), within a year all of the health variables listed above improved significantly.

Quality of Wine

The next factor relates specifically to the quality of the wine. Like most industries efficiency and cost weigh in to decisions about production. It is short cuts in processes to save money or time that can degrade the quality of the wine, therefore affecting the potential health benefits associated with it. In particular a few nasties that can be present in wine due to these short cuts (and exposure to pesticides) include arsenic and sulphites.

While the toxic effects of arsenic are accepted, sulphites are not as well understood. It appears that the presence of sulphites alone may not be a trigger for health concerns, however when combined with sugar and the alcohol itself sulphites can affect certain people giving them migraines and other unwanted reactions to wine consumption. Another factor to keep in mind is the filtration process. Some companies use wheat to filter the grapes and hence anyone who is sensitive to gluten can have a reaction to certain wines.

Look into what you drink

The news is not all bad however and if you do enjoy wine it may be worth looking into the processes used by the wine producers in a little more detail. In addition finding out the location, the grapes were grown in can help to shed light on the quality of the wine. It has been shown that wines grown at altitude in what would be considered “harsh” environmental conditions actually increases the amount of antioxidants in the wine. This concentration is increased further if the wine makers use an extended fermentation (generally 10-15 days instead of 1-2 days).

So the next time there are discussions about the health benefits associated with wine consumption, it is important to realise that there are more factors involved in this complex discussion, and of course like anything to gain the health benefits wine should be consumed in moderation.

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