We’ve All Heard About Red Wine, But What About White Wine?

If you’ve been following health news and media at all for the past several years, you’ve probably already heard quite a bit about the benefits of red wine. Much good news for lovers of pinot noir, merlot and cabernet sauvignon has come to light, but we haven’t heard nearly as much about white wine.

Well, there’s good news for white wine lovers too! While red wine still edges out the competition as the healthiest alcohol option, white wine isn’t that far behind. Read on to discover some exciting health benefits of white wine. Just remember: these benefits are only ascribed to moderate drinking (one drink per day for women, and two for men). If you go overboard, you’re certainly doing yourself more harm than good.

That said, without further adieu…

The benefits of red wine (a brief recap)

Red wine can benefit your cardiovascular system and blood sugar.

In case you missed some of the outpourings of health news on red wine, drinking a moderate amount of this much-loved adult beverage has been linked to:

  • Shielding cells against damage from free radicals
  • Benefitting the cardiovascular system
  • Lowering risk of blood clots
  • Lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol levels
  • Raising HDL “good” cholesterol levels
  • Balancing blood sugar levels
  • Providing benefits to memory and cognition
  • Combatting cancer cells
  • Battling infections
  • Improving the health of your microbiome (a.k.a. your “gut”)
  • Potentially promoting longevity thanks to the presence of resveratrol

What about white wine?

White wine contains fewer calories than red wine.

The difference between red wine and white wine isn’t just as simple as one is made with red grapes and the other with white. While grape type does play a part in determining the color of a wine, the process plays a part as well. To make red wine, grapes are most often pressed (which removes the skins) after they are fermented. To make white wine, grapes are pressed and thus skinned before fermentation occurs.

Because red wine is fermented with the grape skins intact, more antioxidants (including resveratrol, tannins and more) remain in the wine. However, white wine does still retain some of these super-healthy compounds. The following are just a few of the benefits of white wine, to make you feel good about your next glass.

White wine contains plenty of nutrients

Both red wine and white wine contain several important nutrients. These include several B-vitamins, along with minerals such as iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese and potassium. Interestingly, while white wine contains slightly less of these nutrients than red wine, it also contains slightly fewer calories.

White wine may help lower inflammation levels

It has been long known that the antioxidants found in wine may help lower inflammation levels. For just one example of the research, a 2015 study published in the journal Blood Purification tested the effects of white wine and olive oil (another popular anti-inflammatory staple of the Mediterranean Diet) on ten healthy people, and ten people with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Inflammation levels were assessed.

On the results of their study, the authors wrote:

“Plasma markers of chronic inflammation were significantly reduced in CKD patients during the combined consumption of white wine and olive oil, suggesting a possible anti-inflammatory effect of this nutritional intervention.”

White wine may help fight cancer

Polyphenol antioxidants, such as those found in wine, have been studied for quite a while now for their anticarcinogenic benefits. A 2016 study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer studied the effects of red and white wine polyphenols on prostate cancer cells. On their results, the study authors explained:

“We show that red and wine extracts have direct effects on the proliferation, survival, oxidative status and the induction of autophagy of PC-3 [human prostate cancer] cells. Our data may have important implications for the design of a more effective adjuvant treatment for prostate cancer patients.”

White wine may have positive effects on your cholesterol

There is some evidence that white wine, as well as red, may help to improve your cholesterol levels. This includes raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, and lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, for a healthier overall cholesterol profile.

White wine may help balance blood sugar levels

For a 2015 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers recruited 224 individuals who had “well-controlled” type 2 diabetes, and who did not drink alcohol before the study began. The study participants were asked to drink a glass of red wine, white wine or mineral water with dinner for a period of two years. They were also given guidelines for a Mediterranean diet, but no limit was placed on their calorie intake.

Two years later, the researchers assessed their results. The participants that drank red wine fared the best, as they showed improvements in their heart health, management of cholesterol and blood sugar control. However, the participants that drank white wine also exhibited improved blood sugar control.

On their results, the study authors wrote:

“This long-term trial showed that a healthy diet and moderate alcohol intake, particularly red wine, were associated with better lipid and glucose control than water and had no significant harmful effects.”  

White wine may help you to sleep better

In the previously mentioned study, researchers also found that participants who drank both red and white wine experienced improved sleep quality. This makes sense: a glass of wine with dinner can certainly be relaxing, and science backs up this anecdotal notion.

So, while red wine seems to be the superstar of alcoholic beverage health, white wine has its own benefits to boast, as well. Whichever color you prefer, cheers to your health!

— Tanya Mead

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