February 18th is National Drink Wine Day, and you may be surprised to hear us say, let’s celebrate!
While those looking to eat healthy and lose weight usually are told to avoid alcohol like the plague, wine is in a different class, and can fit into any healthy diet. While often considered a carbohydrate, alcohol is technically in a nutrient class all of its own. Aside from the typical macronutrients carbohydrates, proteins, and fats the only other substance that provides our bodies with calories is alcohol: 7 per gram compared to carbs’ and protein’s 4 calories and fat’s 9 calories per gram. Alcohol, however, should not be considered a macronutrient because we do not need it for survival.
While many would then write alcohol off as empty calories, wine, which is made from fermented grapes as opposed to barley and yeast, has unique redeeming nutritional properties and is widely accepted as a healthy option when enjoyed in moderation.
Many studies indicate that red wine lowers the risk of heart disease and may raise high density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, when consumed in moderation. Moderation is defined as one 4 ounce glass of wine per day for women and two for men. Diets from around the world that encourage drinking red wine in moderation daily, like The Mediterranean Diet, have consistently shown lower rates of heart disease in their populations. The health benefits of red wine can be attributed to flavonoids and resveratrol, which is found in grape skins and seeds and work to help increase good cholesterol and prevent blood clots and plaque from building up on artery walls.
While red wine and white wine are comparable in calories and carbs (120 calories and 3.8g of carbs per serving) white wine has more sugar, while red wine offers more potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Because it has so many more minerals and less sugar per serving, always opt for a robust red over a sweet white.
Responsibly indulging in wine has been shown to have a variety of positive health impacts. From heart health to stronger teeth, red wine can improve a lot when it comes to your health. However, it’s not just enough to hit the hooch.
A comprehensive study shows that wine only protects against cardiovascular disease (CVD) in people who also exercise.
“We found that moderate wine drinking was only protective in people who exercised,” said Professor Taborsky, researcher on the study. “Red and white wine produced the same results.”
Just in case you were looking for another reason to enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner, researchers have found a pretty good one. While red wine is known to stain your teeth, it can also help prevent you from developing cavities in them.
It’s been known for a while that red wine is beneficial for heart health. Drinking a glass once in a while can lower your risk of heart disease and could also possibly raise your HDL or “good cholesterol.”
Now researchers have found red wine, and grape seed extract, could prevent cavities. It had been previously suggested that polyphenols, grape seed extract, and wine may slow the bacterial growth that can cause cavities, but the theory hadn’t been tested until recently.
You might assume that a trip to wine country means that you have to kiss your weight loss and wellness goals goodbye. But that’s not the case. In addition to breathtaking views, tours of the vineyards, and all the vino a girl can handle, hotels and resorts in wine havens like Sonoma, Napa, and Santa Barbara are adding health and fitness components to the already perfect weekend package. (Talk about making a good thing even better!) Think green smoothies by the pool, bike rides through the vineyards, grape-themed spa treatments, and Pilates classes….all with a glass of wine in hand, of course.
So where should you go? Here are three places we learned about in a recent article on The Huffington Post:
Wine, Women, and Wellness
The Westin Verasa in Napa to learn about the growing demand for fitness and wellness activities for their guests. They now host a “Wine, Women and Wellness” event during Women’s History Month in March, celebrating women’s health and female winemakers. Seminars included demonstrations from raw food chefs, yoga instructors, and makeup artists who create products from the antioxidant-rich byproduct of wine: grape seeds. They even staff a Running Concierge. That is correct: it is someone’s job to guide you through the many paths and trails for a walk or run through wine country. They can ever lend you running shoes! Talk about eliminating excuses.
More and more, when I talk to people about the one food they could never give up the answer is cheese. I don’t know if this is generation, geographical, or what, but the hard-to-break habit keeps coming up in conversation. People like their cheese, and I’m no different. I like a gooey triple cream brie on apple slices, a chunk of cheddar on crackers, and a thick dusting of parmesan on most pasta dishes. But mostly I like cheese with wine.
In the past I tabulated a Work it Off: Wine edition. Since we know exactly what it takes to burn off a couple of glasses (and 250 calories) I’m going to turn my attention to cheese. The cheese plate, to be exact, such as the two I helped take down this past week while sipping wine in the sun with various groups of friends. (This isn’t typical for me: The weather turned warm right as my birthday week hit, which led to a little extra indulgence!)
The cheese on a typical cheese plate adds up to around 481 calories, which no doubt explains why it tastes so good and goes down so easily.
How, exactly, could I have burned off these 481 extra calories? (more…)