The Importance of Wine in the Mediterranean Diet

Drinking more red wine, like many people in the Mediterranean coast do, may be one reason you’re excited about switching to a Mediterranean diet. Red wine has certain properties that research has shown are beneficial for heart health. If you drink alcohol in moderation, add a little red wine in place of other alcoholic beverages.

(If you’re not a fan of red wine, drinking grape juice made from Concord grapes and eating purple grapes also provide similar heart-health benefits.)

The cardio protection red wine provides is attributed to the antioxidants from flavonoids found in the skin of the grapes. The flavonoids reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol, increasing good cholesterol, and reducing blood clotting. A specific flavonoid called reservatol may have additional benefits, including inhibiting tumor development in certain cancers, but that research is still in early stages.

Although red wine can indeed be part of a healthy lifestyle, a fine line determines what amount is considered healthy. The recommended daily intake is one 4-ounce glass for women and one to two 4-ounce glasses for men. Excessive drinking can become unhealthy and is linked to high blood pressure, cardiovascular conditions, and extra calories.

You also need to be in good health to enjoy this perk of the Mediterranean diet. If you have high blood pressure, high triglycerides, pancreatitis, liver disease, or congestive heart failure, drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol may worsen your condition. Also, if you take aspirin regularly for heart health, you want to slow down on the drinking. Talk to your health care provider to see what’s right for you.

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