Red wine vs. White wine: which boasts more health benefits?

If asked, most people would probably say that red wine is the healthier of the two varieties. But why? Many people couldn’t recall the reasons behind their answer. Did they read it in a magazine? Did they hear it from their doctor? It’s time to break down the two types of wine for their health properties and see which one wins the age-old argument or if color doesn’t really matter at all.

First, lets talk calories. Red and white weigh in about equally, with a red clocking in at 125 calories and white at 121 calories for an average 5 oz glass. They also contain the same amount of carbohydrates, which are a dietary concern for many people. However, when we examine their sugar content, red wine has about half the amount of sugar as most white wines.

One of the main benefits of red wine is a compound called resveratrol. This is the powerful antioxidant that has doctors recommending a glass of red wine each day. Resveratrol protects the heart and brain from cancer cells or damage and also helps ward off a myriad of other health conditions.  Red wine contains more of this handy compound because resveratrol comes from the skin of grapes which are left on for much longer during the fermentation process of making red wine than they are with white. Red wine has also been shown to increase the body’s “good” cholesterol while also reducing inflammation.

Despite it’s higher sugar content, new research on white wine has discovered some compounds with similar benefits. White wine contains tyrosol and hydrotyrosol which research suggests can have the same positive effects on cardiovascular and artery health as the reservatrol found in red wine. White wine has also begun to be linked to lung health.  Both red and white wine contain flavenoids which protect against the formation of cancer cells.

There is one health sector that both wines include negative effects and that’s the dental department. Most people are aware of the staining power of red wine on clothes and furniture, but that red color can do the same thing to your teeth if you’re not careful.  White wine totes a similar issue because it contains more acid than red wine and can therefore damage the enamel on your teeth.

So with ups and downs to both varieties, which one wins?

Bubbly or sparkling wine could also be considered an option and is actually somewhat of a compromise because many brands are made with both red and white or even black grapes. Champagne tends to contain slightly less calories than red or white wine (between 90 and 100 in 5 oz) although the serving size for sparkling beverages is generally smaller too which can help keep calories in check. Champagne consumption has also been linked to a lowered chance of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, all thanks to a compound called phenolic acid which helps the memory stay healthy.

Some skeptics point out that most of the studies performed examining wine and it’s benefits have been conducted on animals. They claim that the amount of wine that would need to be consumed to achieve serious medical benefits would be large enough to become unbeneficial to the consumer. Perhaps we need to seek more answers through human participant studies. Personally, I would be happy to participate in a human study on wine consumption! Even though it’s fun to compare and contrast, health professionals remind consumers to always keep all wine and alcohol consumption moderate if they want to reap any health benefits.

So there we have it: there is no full right answer as to which wine is the better choice. The answer is to imbibe your favorite wine when you desire and not overindulge. Whatever your beverage of choice: cabernet, chardonnay or even champagne, raise your glass! Cheers to you and healthy future- no matter what your tastes are.