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Better Off Red

Does wine consumption increase life expectancy? Researchers have found that red wine, rich in flavonoids, is good for our health. Red wines also contain antioxidants, like resveratrol, which helps prevent cancer, blood vessel damage, clots and cardiovascular disease.

U.S. versus Europe

Consumption 
by Comparison

One way to assess this is to compare life expectancy and wine consumption by country. Italy is number four in the world for longevity and France is number six. The United States is number 34. Both France and Italy are known for lifestyles that include wine at most  evening meals.

London, England-based Professor Roger Corder has spent many years researching the benefits of red wine. He noted that the French eat a diet rich in fats, yet they have a death rate much lower than the U.S. He labeled this the “French Paradox” but smaller portions attributes the longevity to the consumption of red wine heavy in flavonoids, along with eating at a leisurely pace.

When broken down into consumption per capita, nine out of the top 10 wine-consuming counties are European. These countries averaged between 65 and 74 liters of wine per person (averaging out to 1 to 1 1/3 glasses per day). The U.S. ranked number 56 with an average of 10 liters per person (averaging out to less than 1/4 a glass per day).

U.S. versus Europe

Purchasing Habits

In the United States…

35 percent of wine purchases are red
30 percent is white
35 percent is rosé and sparkling wines

In Europe the numbers are…

75 percent red
15 percent white
10 percent other varieties

I Heart Reds

Is there a difference in the amount of flavonoids in each red grape varietal?

Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Syrah, Sangiovese, Malbec and Pinot Noir contain the highest concentration of flavonoids.
Merlot and Zinfandel contain fewer flavonoids, but more than white wine.

How much wine should I have to reap the benefits?

Adding a daily glass of wine (4-6 ounces) can make a difference to your health. Resveratrol has properties that prevent the wasting of muscles by disease. It’s not something to replace exercises, but it certainly helps. Paracelsus, the noted 16th-century Swiss physician wrote “Wine is a food, a medicine and a poison—it’s just a question of dose.”

So let’s raise a toast to red wine and enjoy the benefits.