Published On: April 30, 2013

Wine: Ally in Digestion

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I have discussed in other articles the history, geography, and culture of wine, traveling the countries of the world that produce the bacchanalian liquid with its emblematic grapes, along with the technological advances that vineyards have achieved to date.

However, the most important question remains: Why should we drink wine?

The latest discovery about the Dionysian drink extends its positive effects to an increased life expectancy (a healthy one of course). This remarkable effect is thanks to a substance called “resveratrol”, which has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties found in the bark and the seeds of all red grapes. The substance is present especially in the grape varietal Tannat, which we call the “resveratrol pump”, from the French cutting of vitis vinifera, which grows very well in Uruguay. Today Tannat is the Uruguay signature grape, though it also happens to grow quite well in Brazil.

Let’s recall a study that occurred in post-WWII France, in which experts were baffled by the findings that the French consumed 450 types of cheese, as well as fatty foods such as fois gras, butter, and cream, yet still managed to keep their cholesterol and triglycerides levels so low. How did they do it? Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine!

Tannat grapes from Uruguay

“Wine and food were made for each other”, defines the cardiologist Monson Jairo de Souza Filho. The doctor, who for 20 years has been studying the effects of alcohol on human health, assures us that it is wine that most facilitates digestion. “Provided of course, that no contraindication exists that would preclude its consumption,” he says. The specialist affirms that the best way to reap the benefits of wine is to drink it moderately during meals.

“When wine is ingested with food, the volume of free radicals in blood flow decreases greatly during digestion, when the amount of fat circulating in the blood stream is higher. With fewer free radicals present, fats are less likely to be oxidized and form fats deposits in the blood vessel walls,” explains the cardiologist.

What a lesson on the world, right? Let us also bring to today’s lesson the properties of white grapes. Based on studies of the honorable Professor José Osvaldo Albano Amarante in his course on gastronomy at the Universidade Anhembi Morumbi in São Paulo, the white grape has several valuable properties as well including: a) a greater diuretic effect than red; b) the same vasodilatory effect of red wine (though it does not dissolve plaque from coronary arteries because of the absence of tannins; c) the prevention of rheumatic diseases; and d) the readiness for drinking, unlike many reds that are tannic or have other properties, which were elaborated upon in our previous article on the subject.

By Osvaldo Nascimento Júnior

To review some of my previous articles on wine, visit: Click on columnists and then Vino Vita Est. 

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