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Showing posts from April, 2010

Does the type of wine matter?

Questions that seem to come up frequently when I am lecturing about wines include “Does it have to be red in order to get the health benefits?” and “Which types of wine have the highest amount of the healthful polyphenols?” To answer the first, red wines do have much higher levels of resveratrol and other beneficial compounds for several reasons. Since these compounds come from the skins and seeds, the whole grape (berry) must be fermented together in order for optimal extraction. White wines are made by pressing out the juice and then fermenting it without contact of the skins and seeds. So yes, it has to be red for the full dose, and it has to be wine not grape juice.


The second question is a bit trickier. There are natural variations among the different varietals of grapes that wine is made from, but the terroir (local conditions) and methods of viticulture probably have more to do with it. To understand why this is the case, consider why grapes make resveratrol and other polypheno…

More good news about chocolate and wine

Just in time for your Easter egg hunt, more news that chocolate is good for you. A report out just this week from the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam confirmed that people consuming chocolate on a regular basis had lower rates of heart attack and stroke. The study was impressive in scope, monitoring nearly twenty thousand subjects over a ten-year period, after a dietary assessment at the beginning. It was part of a large project called the European Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Those in the top chocolate consumption group had 40% fewer heart attacks and strokes over the course of the study as compared to the low chocolate consumers. A reduction in blood pressure was identified as the reason.


It has been known for some time that compounds called polyphenols, found in both chocolate and wine, are able to relax blood vessels and thereby lower blood pressure. A study from the Institute of Food Safety in the Netherlands (why are the Europeans having all the fun wi…