Lucky for us wine lovers, the alcohol and antioxidants in red wine are considered healthy for your heart when consumed in moderation. Certain red wines have a higher amount of antioxidants and are potentially a greater heart-health benefit, so if you’re looking for those, you’ve come to the right place!
Alcohol increases the amount of the good HDL cholesterol levels in your body and lessens the effect of the bad LDL cholesterol and reduces blood clots.
Alcohol can be addictive and can damage the liver and raise blood pressure, though, and doctors don’t encourage anyone to start, or increase, drinking alcoholic beverages for heart health.
The antioxidants found in red wine called polyphenols protect blood vessel linings.
There are two types of polyphenols found in red wine: flavonoids and non-flavonoids. The non-flavonoids appear to prevent fat from blocking arteries.
Research shows that the non-flavonoid resveratrol may reduce obesity and diabetes, both of which can lead to heart damage. There are other indications that resveratrol minimizes instances of blood clots. Most research has been completed on mice and not on humans. Resveratrol is found in grape skins. Because red wine ferments longer than white, it contains more resveratrol.
The amount of polyphenols in the wine is dependent on the type of grape used in the fermentation process. Wines made with thick-skinned dark grapes, like tannat and malbec grapes, have the highest amounts of polyphenols.
Tannat grapes are grown in the Madiran region of Southern France. Malbec grapes are found in the Loire Valley and in Cahors, France.
Wines that contain a large amount of polyphenols and may be considered to have heart-health benefits include: California Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel (old vine), Sangiovese, Aglianico and Nobbiolo.