Want to boost your antioxidant intake while drinking wine? Read on and discover which wines have the most antioxidants!
Antioxidants help combat the natural oxidative stress we experience every day. While your body neutralizes these free radicals by producing some of its own antioxidants, it’s still a good idea to get extra! There are plenty of antioxidant rich foods (blueberries, dark chocolate, etc.), but the most delicious way to get antioxidants has to be from wine!
That’s right, wine is FULL of antioxidants. It’s important to remember, however, that certain wines have more antioxidants than others. Read on and discover which wines have the MOST antioxidants!
What Types of Antioxidants Are Found in Wine?
Wine is full of a particular type of antioxidant called polyphenols. “Phenol” refers to the type of chemical compound and “poly” just means there are multiple compounds.
You can find polyphenols naturally in many plants where they usually play defensive roles. Sometimes they help plants by making darker pigments, repairing physical damage, and even protection from UV rays.
Here are some of the most common polyphenols found in red wines:
Resveratrol comes from the skin of grapes. It’s been studied for its potential to increase “good” cholesterol, reduce “bad cholesterol, and even prevent blood clots.
This antioxidant is produced when grape skins are exposed to sunlight. It’s a type of wine tannin and it’s studied for its immune boosting potential.
These are another type of tannin found in grape seeds and skins. Studies show it may help lower total cholesterol.
This is a condensed tannin that’s been studied for its potential to improve joint flexibility, circulation, reduce certain kinds of infections, and even combat allergies.
Red Wines Naturally Have More Antioxidants
The majority of polyphenols in wine come from the skins of grapes. The darker the grape, the more antioxidants it has. Since red wines require darker grapes and have more contact with the actual grape skins, red wines are more antioxidant-rich than white wines.
Additionally, red wines with higher amounts of tannins tend to have more polyphenols. That’s because tannins also come from grape skins (plus some tannins ARE antioxidants). So, the more time a wine has contact with grape skins, the more antioxidants and tannins there will be.
Supposedly, red wine boosts the number of antioxidants in your blood as well. This lowers inflammation and oxidative stress. There was even a two-week study showing increased blood-antioxidant levels in forty adults who consumed 13.5 ounces of red wine daily.
The jury is still out on the efficacy of such practices (especially since the daily recommended amount of wine is roughly four ounces). So we’ll leave that one to the scientists.
But here’s the real question…are there specific red wines that have more antioxidants than others? Yes!
Pinot Noir and Merlot Have LOTS of Resveratrol
While the Pinot Noir grape has thinner skin, this wine has some of the highest levels of antioxidants. Specifically, it has incredibly high levels of resveratrol.
Resveratrol is easily the most widely known polyphenol in wine. Its anti-inflammatory powers are so well studied it’s even used in many cosmetics and dietary supplements. Many plants naturally produce this antioxidant whenever they’re damaged or experiencing some kind of illness.
It’s not just good for plants though, resveratrol is incredibly good for us too! Researchers have studied resveratrol as a potential therapy for regulating insulin, reducing bad cholesterol, and even slowing down certain diseases.
Remarkably, Pinot Noir also has fewer tannins than other wines on this list. For those susceptible to heartburn, this is great news.
Merlot is another wine with plenty of resveratrol. In addition, merlots can also contain important vitamins and minerals (calcium, iron, potassium, thiamin, riboflavin, etc.). Just remember to drink in moderation. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to get your daily recommended amount of these items from just one glass of wine.
Red Wines Made With Sangiovese Grapes Have Higher Levels of Quercetin
Grape vines begin creating this antioxidant during the flowering period and they continue doing so until they finish ripening. Quercetin is necessary for these plants because it helps protect them from ultraviolet rays. It’s also found in large amounts in Sangiovese grapes.
While Sangiovese grapes are grown all over Italy, they’re one of the primary grapes used in vineyards across Tuscany. More specifically, these are the primary grapes used to produce Chianti wines. The bottle we’ve included below was created from a selection of the best Sangiovese and Canaiolo organic grapes from Poggio al Casone vineyard.
Cabernet Sauvignon Is A Good Source of Proanthocyanidins
This particular antioxidant is a bit trickier to track down. That’s because certain areas tend to produce wine with higher levels of these compounds.
Research has shown that wines from specific areas in Sardinia and the southwest of France often have levels up to five times higher than wines from other regions. However, this could be attributed to differences in production methods.
If you’re wanting to try a wine with plenty of these compounds, however, you can’t go wrong with an Italian Cabernet Sauvignon.
Try Low-Carb Wines With Plenty of Antioxidants
It’s important to remember that dry wines with less sugar are naturally going to be healthier. What’s the point in getting all those antioxidants if you’re pairing them with sugar that will spike your glucose levels?
While the antioxidants in red wine won’t immediately erase all your woes, over time they may contribute to more balanced antioxidant-blood levels. I mean, we’re not saying Italy has some of the most lively senior populations because of their wine…but we’re not NOT saying that.