7 reasons to keep drinking this January
Juiceless January may be all the rage as those New Year’s resolutions kick in, but there are some benefits to staying off the wagon.
By Erin Henderson
It’s January first.
The most wonderful time of the year has once again come and gone and besides maybe a new drone, all you’ve really got to show for it is a wicked hangover and an extra 10 pounds.
So with your throbbing headache as inspo, you think to yourself, “Self, let’s turn in the corkscrew for the Vitamix and swear a sober observance to Juiceless January.”
Hold the phone. No one likes a quitter – ahem, especially those of us who make their living from showing you a good time, and a quality drink.
But in all seriousness, going dry may not be the way to health or weight loss salvation. Over the last few years a spate of studies have looked at how moderate wine consumption can help keep the pounds off.
A personal fave, that admittedly dates back nearly a decade, is a 2010 study that followed 20-thousand women. Those who consumed two to three glasses of alcohol a day only gained about 3.5 pounds over 13 years, whereas teetotallers gained eight pounds – more than double – over the same period.
The study – conducted by Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital – suggests the reasons women who imbibe may keep the pounds off is because overall drinkers have a tendency to eat less and exercise more after drinking (as anyone who’s witnessed a dance floor after midnight can likely attest).
Another study released last year, echoes those findings, suggesting a glass or two of red wine before bed helps keep the pounds at bay.
But even if your soft pooch isn’t your motivation for laying off the hooch, may we present to you seven other reasons why you should just keep drinking*.
Down with Cholesterol
Studies reveal moderate consumption of red wine (studies we’ve read seem to agree that means 1 glass a day for women and up to 2 for men – why do guys get all the breaks?), can increase your good cholesterol, the HDL kind, by up to 20% when paired with a healthy diet and exercise. It also appears that LDL, or the bad cholesterol, also can be lowered with a glass or 2. Win-win. Pass the wine.
Wine to try:
Go with something powerful and tannic to really squeeze all the good-for-you goodness out of the red grape that could. Betcha didn’t know Malbec hails from the Southwest of France. Sure it’s found glory in Argentina, where it’s often smooth and full of black berry-floral notes. In Cahors it’s a bit more rustic and earthy and definitely worth exploring. Especially if you can lower your cholesterol while doing it.
Clos Troteligotte K-Or Malbec
Cahors, France 2015
$18.95 Vintages 299982
Stemming from the French Paradox, where lucky Francophiles feast on a rich, fat laden diet but have surprisingly low numbers of heart disease, scientists have put that lifestyle under a microscope and have attributed red wine consumption as the health champion of the French.
It turns out that red wine drinkers may even be 30% less likely to suffer a heart attack over non-drinkers. The super hero of red wine is resveratrol – a flavanoid found in the skin of red grapes – which combats a host of maladies, including heart disease. Acting as an antioxidant, studies suggest resveratrol helps protect the lining of your heart, as well as reduces the wear and tear on your arteries, prevents blood clotting and lowers bad cholesterol, all culprits of heart disease.
Wine to try:
Because resveratrol is the heavy hitter in reducing artery plaque, lowering cholesterol, and protecting the heart itself, you’ll obviously want a red with higher levels of the miracle antioxidant. Spanish Garnacha weighs in at an impressively high amount of the flavanoid, so go enjoy a glass tonight – your heart will thank you for it.
Borsao “Tres Picos” Garancha
Campo de Borja, Spain 2015
$19.95 Vintages 273748
Blood Sugar Balance
While in no way are we suggesting downing a bottle of Bordeaux will cure diabetes, it looks like the polyphenols found in the skin of red wine can help control spikes and dips in blood sugar and, as The Daily Mail reported a few years ago, a few ounces of red wine may contain as many ingredients as a diabetic drug to combat the disease. Webmd.com also reports studies have found super star antioxidant resveratrol shows promise in combatting insulin resistance.
It appears the ligands in red wine have the most effect on glucose and lipid metabolism. Grapes with thick skins and deep colour are chock-full of healthy compounds and chemicals.
Michael David “Petite Petit” (Petite Sirah & Petit Verdot)
Lodi, California, USA 2015
$27.95 Vintages 213017
A Cure for the Common Cold
Take two ounces and call us in the morning.
The antioxidants in red wine can reduce mucus and phlegm and have antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. In a recent study by Spanish researchers, moderate consumption can strengthen your immunity against 200 viruses responsible for the colds. And a quick web search shows a very old article where people who drank 14 glasses of wine per week were 40% less likely to fall ill. Hey – it may be nearly 20-year-old research, but take it where you can get it.
livestrong.com reports cool climate countries like Ontario and Bordeaux produce red wines with more resveratrol and antioxidants than warmer climates and pinot noir in general has been found to have the highest amount of resveratrol. Just one more reason to drink local.
Karlo Estates Cabernet Franc
VQA Prince Edward County, ON 2015
$39 Vintages 524389
There is no shortage to articles showing a glass a day keeps the fat away. And if it’s on the internet you know it’s true.
In addition to wine being your Number 1 weapon in fighting the Battle of the Bulge (well, if not Number 1 exactly, it should at least be in your fat fighting arsenal), there’s some suggestions a glass of cabernet can help with digestion by boosting your good bacteria. And lots of good bacteria means you’re pretty much indestructible. Or something like that.
My two favourite things in the world are wine and being skinny so I’m going with the biggest glass I can find to get the most healthy flavanoids. Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon both have a healthy dose. I’ll Keg size that, please.
Elderton “Ode to Lorraine” Red Blend (Cab Sauv/Shiraz/Merlot)
Barossa Valley, South Australia 2014
$39.95 Vintages 976423
Fountain of Youth
Back to everyone’s favourite party guest, resveratrol. Not only is this All Star the go-to for reducing inflammation, lowering cancer risks, dementia, strokes and heart disease, combatting colds and making you smarter, but it’s does all this and keep you young, too.
A few years ago, the web lit up with the results of study showing the fountain of youth may really be the bottle of youth. While studies suggests humans would need to down hundreds of glasses of a wine a day to get the benefit, we are up for the challenge.
Resveratrol pills are also all the rage, but be warned; they’re not nearly as much fun. Take it from the famed 18th century epicurean Brillat-Savarin, who once wrote in The Physiology of Taste, “A man who was fond of wine was offered some grapes for dessert. ‘Much obliged,’ he said, pushing the grapes away, ‘but I am not in the habit of taking my wine in pills.’” Again, to get as many oxidants stuffed into your glass as possible, go for deep, dark reds with power.
Montagne-Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France 2014
$51.95 Vintages 512590
We say stress sucks and hunkering down for a gab fest and a glass (or 4) with your BFFs is sure to lift your spirits. And science backs us on that. There’s proof that red wine mixes with your chemical makes up to help you calm the eff down.
Because red wine helps promote feelings of relaxation, especially when paired with a great meal or sipped in a hot tub, pick one that’s easy to drink and goes with a bunch of foods.
Umberto Cesari “Liano” Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon
Emilia-Romagna, Italy 2014
$27.95 Vintages 225086
*By the way – we’re not doctors or scientists and in no way do we want to diminish the seriousness of any illness and health issues, mentioned here or otherwise. All of the above statements have counter arguments, and this blog should be read slightly tongue-in-cheek. Should you be feeling under the weather, or feel like you have substance abuse issues, check with your doctor to see about the best course of action.
*This article has been edited and updated since first appearing on thewinesisters.com