Whether you prefer white or red wine is generally a matter of taste. The question has always been “Red Wine and White Wine: Which Is Healthier?”
But if you want the healthiest pick, which should you choose?
Red wine has drawn lots of attention for its research-backed potential to lower the risk of heart disease and lengthen your lifespan.
Does white wine have the same benefits?
This article will review what you need to know about red and white wine — how they’re made, what to watch out for, and which is healthier.
Wine is made from fermented grape juice.
Grapes are picked, crushed, and placed in buckets or vats to ferment. The process of fermentation turns the natural sugars in the grape juice into alcohol.
Fermentation can occur naturally, but sometimes winemakers add yeast to help control the process.
The crushed grapes are put through a press, which removes the skins and other sediments. Whether this step is done before or after fermentation, along with grape color, determines whether the wine becomes red or white.
To make white wine, grapes are pressed before fermentation. Red wine is usually pressed after fermentation.
After this step, the wine is aged in stainless steel or oak barrels until it’s ready to be bottled.
Wine is made from fermented grape juice. The grapes are picked, crushed and then allowed to ferment in buckets or vats.
The main difference between white and red wine has to do with the color of the grapes used. It also has to do with whether the grape juice is fermented with or without the grape skin.
To make white wine, grapes are pressed, and skins, seeds, and stems are removed before fermentation.
However, to make red wine, the crushed red grapes are transferred to vats directly and they ferment with the skin, seeds, and stems. The grape skins lend the wine its pigment, as well as many of the distinctive health compounds found in red wine.
As a result of steeping with the grape skins, red wine is particularly rich in plant compounds that are present in those skins, such as tannins and resveratrol.
White wine also has some of these healthy plant compounds, but generally in much lower amounts.
Many different grape varietals are used to produce wine, including Pinot Gris, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
While red varietals are used to make red wine, white wine can actually be made from red or white grapes. For instance, traditional French champagne is made with the red Pinot Noir grape.
Many countries produce wine. Some of the main wine-growing regions are in France, Italy, Spain, Chile, South Africa, Australia, and California in the US.
While most regions grow several types of grape varietals, some places are particularly known for one or two, such as Napa Valley Chardonnay, Spanish Tempranillo, and South African Chenin Blanc.
Overall, red wine has a slight edge over white because it has higher amounts of vitamins and minerals. Nevertheless, white wine contains fewer calories.
Red wine grapes are fermented with the skin on, which gives the wine its color and provides beneficial plant compounds. Grapes for white wine, on the other hand, have their skins removed. In terms of nutrients, red and white wine are neck and neck. However, red wine has slightly higher levels of some vitamins and minerals.
The biggest drawbacks of drinking wine come from drinking too much of it.
How much is too much depends on who you ask, since guidelines for low-risk alcohol consumption vary between countries.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends no more than two standard drinks a day, five days a week.
Many individual countries, including the US, recommend limiting alcohol to less than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. Some countries’ upper limits are even less than that.
A standard drink is defined as a 5-ounce (148-ml) glass of 12% alcohol wine.
Note that a lot of “big” reds, such as those from California, are often higher in alcohol, in the range of 13–15% by volume.
The health benefits of red wine can easily be negated by drinking too much. In excess amounts, it can cause organ damage, dependency, and brain damage.
Drinking too much may also increase your risk of contracting infectious diseases, because it may weaken your immune system.
Furthermore, drinking alcohol seems to raise the risk of developing multiple types of cancer.
These serious risks are the main reasons health experts urge people not to start drinking for the sake of health.
Drinking alcohol of any kind can have negative health consequences, especially if you drink too much.
If you are going to drink wine, it seems clear that red wine is significantly healthier — or less bad than white wine.
In other words, red wine is the clear winner when it comes to health effects.
That being said, consuming alcohol should never be promoted as a way to improve health, given that the harmful effects can be massive if you drink too much of it.
Additionally, most of the studies showing benefits are observational in nature, meaning they can’t prove cause and effect.
If you do enjoy drinking wine, red wine is the better choice, but limiting your alcohol consumption (or avoiding it altogether) is always the safest choice.
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