I consumed a few Bellinis these past few weeks, laced with various juices and nectars like cranberry, orange, peach, mango and pear.
Everyone knows fruit is good for us, right? Fruit occupies a position on the food pyramid that recommends two to four servings a day. I superbly managed that – while also getting in my vegetable and grain servings, as well. What could be healthier than fruit, whole-grain pita chips and spinach dip?
We now know chocolate is good for us, too. I admit to having a piece of fudge for breakfast on Christmas Eve morning. I did so out of concern for my health. The sugar provided needed energy to help make it through the day, while the chocolate healed a world of ills, even providing flavanoids that lowered my risk of heart disease and stroke.
For an extra measure of health insurance, I consumed a few glasses of red wine, known to be rich in flavanoids and resveratrol. Flavanoids and resveratrol are enemies of cell-damaging free radicals that can cause cancer, dementia, heart disease and a lot of other things no one ever wants to contract.
White wine has some disease-fighting compounds, too, but these compounds are more prevalent and concentrated in red wine. For a wine to become red, it must stay in contact longer with red grape skins, where flavanoids and resveratrol are concentrated.
Like everything good, there is a downside. If small amounts of chocolate and red wine are good for our health, large amounts of these substances negate any health benefits derived from their consumption.
Many studies have been conducted on the subject of how much red wine is a good thing. The news is not good for red wine guzzlers. No more than one five-ounce glass of red wine per day is recommended for women. No more than two five-ounce glasses is recommended for men.
It has been documented that moderate consumption of red wine can raise your HDL – the good cholesterol – and thin your blood, but consumption has to be moderate.
Those conducting these studies also recommend following a healthy diet and a good program of regular exercise.
I have difficulty drinking a glass of wine without food. As a consequence, I consume lots of empty calories from crackers, nuts, cheese and the like, a pitfall that should be avoided.
If following a healthy regimen, consume your allowed five- or 10-ounce servings of wine with a meal, thus avoiding caloric appetizers.
A five-ounce serving of wine has approximately 120 calories. An entire bottle has 480 calories. If planning to drink only one or two glasses a day, invest in a vacuum wine sealer to keep unconsumed wine fresh.
Pour yourself a daily five-ounce serving from one of the following red wines personally sampled over the holidays. Regrettably, I consumed a bit more than five ounces, but there is always the start of a new year to get things on track.
Liberty School 2009 Cabernet. Reliable, easy-drinking red from Paso Robles. $13.99 at the Wine Cellar on Quintard in Anniston.
Domaine de Chateaumar Cuvee Bastien Grenache Cotes du Rhone 2009. Imported by the French Bourgeois family and distributed by Grass Roots. Both entities specialize in small, family-owned wine estates. From 100 percent grenache. Full-bodied. Juicy flavors of bramble fruit mingled with bacon and herbs. $14 at Tyson Fine Wines and Things in Golden Springs.
2009 CMS Columbia Valley AVA Washington. The CMS stands for “cabernet, merlot, syrah.” Made by Hedges Family Estate, this inexpensive red packs a great bang for the buck. Medium-bodied. Tasty and nicely balanced. $13.50 at Tyson.
Apothic Red Winemaker’s Blend. Though inexpensive, this wine is complex, concentrated, plush and balanced. $9.75 at both Tyson and The Wine Cellar.
Here’s wishing you a healthy and prosperous new year.