Red wine has made waves around the world for her antioxidants and flavonoids. These things have been linked to decreased instances of cancer, inflammation, and improved heart health and levels of “good” cholesterol. This is all fine and well for red wine lovers, but not everyone loves the reds. So the question becomes, “Is white wine good for you, too?”
When it comes to white wines, the good news is that there are still many of the same properties found in reds that have led health experts to agree that, when consumed in moderation, wine can be a great addition to a healthy diet. In fact, studies out of Spain have concluded that some white wines actually have a higher antioxidant capacity than her red wine cousins.
The grape skins are the element that contains these powerful antioxidants. This means that, since the skins are removed prior to processing in white wines, there are fewer antioxidants in white wines vs. reds. This is the key reason that red wines get all the attention of the health bloggers; red wines are processed with skins on, leading to a higher concentration of antioxidants. So the issue is not, “Is red wine healthy while white wine is not?” so much as it is, “Does red wine have more health properties than white wine?”
Despite the lower levels of antioxidants, however, researchers have found that the antioxidant levels in white wine are proficient and effective in preventing many of the same diseases that red wine has been linked to improving. In fact, a 2002 study conducted at the University of Buffalo found that lifelong white wine drinkers actually had improved lung health compared to nondrinkers. Additionally, in 2010 the University of Wisconsin conducted a study that concluded that white wine consumption protected against breast cancer cells just as well as red wine consumption.
Another thing white wine has going for it? A 2004 study out of Germany was able to show that consuming white wine while on a calorie deficit diet could also help with weight loss. Researchers also link better sleep to moderate wine consumption.
The key to gaining health benefits from your wine, be it red or white, is to remember that it needs to be consumed in moderation. More wine does not mean more antioxidants and more benefit. In fact, in many cases, over consumption can actually impair the health benefits, as wine also contains sugars and carbohydrates.
Researchers are only just beginning to consider white wines for their healthy components, whereas reds have been researched over a longer period of time. This leads to the imbalance in news stories about the health benefits of white wine for the moment, but will likely change as more studies are conducted.