Wine is not just a pleasure to drink, it also offers health benefits. But are you drinking enough wine to take advantage of these additional medical marvels? And how do you keep an opened bottle of wine from spoiling throughout the week if you only drink a glass a day?
Most wine enthusiasts are aware that wine offers several health benefits, but the magnitude of benefits and the quantity of wine required to achieve these benefits may be more than you think. Beyond the well known improvements to the heart, wine also positively affects many other areas from delaying dementia to preventing arthritis. Here are some of the most impactful benefits:
Improves Overall Heart Health
Wine has shown, after two decades of research, to reduce heart attack risk by up to 60%. An enzyme in wine (aldehyde dehydrogenase 2) prevents damage to heart cells by eliminating toxic byproducts. Fiber and antioxidants in wine, especially Tempranillo, reduces blood pressure and cholesterol better than oats, psyllium and other fiber sources.
Delays Dementia and Alzheimer's
Grape seed polyphenols block the formation of plaques in the brain that kill surrounding brain cells, which is associated with causing Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
Studies performed by researchers in Sweden have shown that moderate wine consumption can reduce rheumatoid arthritis by 50%.
Lowers (Type 2) Diabetes Risk
A study by Harvard School of Public Health found that alcohol in wine lowered the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58% versus nondrinkers, speculating that the wine alcohol helps regulate insulin and blood glucose levels by slowing the glucose passage through the digestive track.
Reduces Throat Cancer Risk
According to a Kaiser Permanente study, wine consumption lowers the risk of Barrett's Esophagus, a precursor to esophageal cancer, by 56%.
To achieve these benefits, however, 7-14 glasses of wine must be drunk per week. Consumptions must be spread out evenly, as binge drinking not only obstructs the health benefits it also offers negative health consequences. For some (myself included) that is a lot more wine per week than is currently consumed.
So how do you keep a bottle from spoiling if you only drink one or two glasses a day? Most wine drinkers won't notice a difference in the wine flavor or quality if the cork is returned and the partially-drunk bottle of wine sits in the refrigerator overnight. On the other hand, many wine drinkers are sensitive to the effects of oxidation, so here are some helpful suggestions for preserving the true characteristics of the wine.
1) Drink half-bottles. With half the volume of a normal bottle of wine, you likely won't have any left over to worry about storing.
2) Purchase an inert gas wine storage unit. By replacing the volume of air inside the partially-drunk with an inert gas, oxidation is significantly reduced. There are several off-the-shelf options available, primarily argon-based.
3) Purchase a vacuum unit. Removing the air from the bottle, similar to adding inert gas, reduces oxidation significantly.
So drink up, oenophiles. Not just for pleasure, but for your health.