Sticking to a new diet can be incredibly hard, but eating right doesn't mean you have to give up everything you love --including wine! Many doctors and scientists agree that drinking wine in moderation can have many health benefits.
Before we get too far into this great news, let's level set expectations: It's important to note that moderation means no more than one glass per day for women or two per day for men.
Health Benefits from Antioxidants
The key word when it comes to health and wine is antioxidants. Traditionally thought to be more potent in red wine (red wine gets its color from grape skins and the skins are full of antioxidants) recent studies show that the pulp in white grapes is high in different antioxidants that may be equally beneficial, if not more so.
Antioxidants in wine have been shown to benefit health in several key areas including, but probably not limited to, the following:
- Promoting heart healthiness: antioxidants lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL) levels, helping to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke;
- Aiding in cancer prevention: the antioxidant resveratrol can increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, even with resistant pancreatic cancer;
- Improving lung function: antioxidants prevent free radical attacks upon lung tissues, particularly the smaller antioxidants found in white wine.
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How to Fit Wine into Your Healthy Lifestyle
Potential health benefits aside, what if you simply enjoy a glass of wine every day? Do you have to worry about it throwing off your calorie or carbohydrate count? If consumed in moderation, wine can remain a delicious part of almost any healthy regime.
By the numbers, Wine Makes Sense
While the total number of calories will vary depending on the wine type, a glass of wine generally contains less than 100 calories. Compare that to 140-200 for a 12 ounce beer (and still over 100 in most light beers), 280 for a gin and tonic, or 800 (or more!) for a blended cocktail.
- Most of the calories in wine come from the alcohol content, so the higher the alcohol the more calories it will contain.
- On average, red wine has more alcohol than white wine.
- By this math, a dry white wine is your best bet for a low calorie glass--Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc average around 85 calories per 4 ounce glass, as compared to 95 calories for Cabernet and Pinot Noir.
- And watch out when you start to get into sweet wines, as the numbers can skyrocket with the addition of sugar. A dry Riesling has about 90 calories, whereas a glass of ruby port averages 185!
When it comes to carbs, the results are similar. A glass of dry wine has around 3-4 grams of carbs, compared to 12 grams per beer (and 3-7 for light beer). Straight vodka, gin, rum and tequila don't have any carbs, but watch what you mix them with: liqueurs like Amaretto, Grand Marnier and Kahlua can have up to 24 grams per ounce.
The trick is to work the glass of wine into your diet appropriately, not starve yourself so you can justify the 100 calories. Drinking on an empty stomach is a bad idea. A sudden influx of alcohol will trigger your brain's "I'm hungry" message. Combine that with feeling the effects of alcohol faster when hungry, and you might end up throwing weeks of successful dieting by the wayside!
MORE WINE IDEAS FROM MOMTRENDS
Looking for more food ideas? Check out the Momtrends' Wine Time on Pinterest!