How wine can support a healthy diet: the Mediterranean case

by Jun 29, 2020News0 comments


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Dear reader, how is it going?

If you haven’t met me yet, hi! I’m Breno, lead copywriter here at Alti Wine Exchange.

As I write this post, a new week begins! Well, under lockdown or not, Mondays often mean the making of new plans – such as starting healthier habits.

A while ago, I mentioned to you and all wine lovers who have been reading us just how it is perfectly possible to maintain a good balance between a healthy lifestyle and sipping your favorite wines. Fitness goes well with wine, I promise!

So why not write to you today about how wine can be a part of a balanced, healthy diet? I’ll give you a nice example based on the ever-famous Mediterranean diet.

Wine in a healthy diet? It is possible

Back when I wrote the abovementioned post, I had been trying to keep as fit as possible to maintain my physical preparation to be ready when I went back to the tennis court.

Sadly, the limited space and all the work it took to comply with the safety measures going out for jogging in the middle of the pandemic were too much. Yes, I gained my fair share of kilograms.

But life goes on: I enjoyed many readings during the harsher period of quarantine and got even more into the Mediterranean diet after reading about inherently healthy habits of Italians, Greeks and other Mediterranean peoples.

* * *

By now, you may know that the Mediterranean diet focuses on the daily intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, whole grains, olive oil and seafood (omega-3, anyone?), recommending wine consumption (moderately!) while also limiting the consumption of dairy products and red meat.

Combined with an active lifestyle, this diet has been long associated with decreased risks of heart disease, cancer, depression and neurological diseases, and also leading to longer life expectancy.

Even though there is no single definition of what the Mediterranean diet is, its principles are also recognized by the World Health Organization as a healthy and sustainable dietary pattern, whilst the diet has its cultural importance too: it is regarded an intangible cultural asset by UNESCO.

Follow this pyramid and you will be good – but make sure to avoid industrialized food as much as possible here.


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What’s even more interesting is that, according to a new study by a team of European researchers published on a journal edited by the British Society of Gastroenterology, this diet may also be linked with a healthier aging process, cognitive performance scores, decreased inflammation and a lower risk of frailty.

Long story short: it proves even more how beneficial it is to have this sane lifestyle as years go by.

No deprivations, prohibited foods: simply balance. You can have a healthy share of poultry, eggs, and even (fewer) red meats too!

How wine comes into the diet?

I know, I know. It’s very likely you ended up in this article because you were thinking of fitting wine in a healthy lifestyle. And you’re not wrong, as the Mediterranean diet very usually allows red wine in moderation.

The key is tannins. As I mentioned back then, the reality, so far, is that flavonoids and resveratrol found in the skin of red grapes has shown highly promising evidence of being a good supplement to exercising routines towards heart health, lessening coronary risks. Similar fashion goes for ellagic acid, also found in tannin-packed grapes such as cabernet, syrah, sangiovese, tempranillo and merlot. Such red wines provide antioxidants that also help neutralizing free radicals.

(While we normally associate red wine with a healthier lifestyle, some recent studies have shown white wine could also provide some of the benefits I mentioned above. But apart from some studies having leaned towards this good news, it is yet to be scientifically proven.)

But even if moderate amounts of red wine can help you maintain healthy habits, it could be wise to follow a recommended maximum daily intake of around 125 ml for women and 250ml for men – and even less, if it should be the case for you.

If you have high blood pressure, excessive triglycerides, pancreatitis, liver disease or congestive heart failure, hold up and talk to your doctor before thinking of following any guidance on such wine intake.

After all, wine has lots of sugars and a fair amount of alcohol. As you know, excessive drinking is linked to high blood pressure, severe cardiovascular conditions and gives you unnecessary extra calories.


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* * *

Some of you may have been having more drinks than usual (or even than the recommended by health authorities). The anxiety and stress provoked by all the uncertainty surrounding covid-19 has showed how keeping a safe balance is crucial.

As I said back then, even if it’s not the best possible option, a small daily routine of exercising is something everyone can do. Cooking your own food also helps keeping focused and eating healthier.

If you’re still confined and want some simple workout tips, here you go.

See you next time!

 


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