For years we have heard that red wine is good for our health and have seen antioxidant-enhanced products, like red wine supplements and pills, appear on the market.
But something more appealing to your palette may become more popular in the near future. An Australian wine label, "The Wine Doctor," has created several wines that claim to contain 100 times the antioxidants as a normal bottle of wine. They accomplish this by adding high concentrations of resveratrol, an antioxidant compound found in grape skins.
Although these wines are not currently sold in the United States and not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, some people think of them as "the world's healthiest wines" or super foods.
"As a wine drinker, I like the idea of a medicinal wine," Mandal said, "but as a health care professional, it is very important to be skeptical about any new products or claims made without the consensus of both the FDA and scientific communities."
This wine label and some antioxidant supplements depend on the idea that more antioxidants mean greater health benefits. But this is not always true; putting large quantities of any substance into your body poses risks, and people are better off sticking to the advice that "too much of a good thing is not good," Mandal said.
Until the antioxidant-rich wines receive FDA approval, Mandal recommends regular wines - their moderate amounts of antioxidants may bring health benefits, including raising HDL (good cholesterol), lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) and inhibiting blood clots, all of which can improve your cardiovascular health.
Remember to drink wine, like any alcoholic beverage, in moderation; otherwise all those benefits will be nullified, he said. Moderation, as defined by U.S. Dietary Guidelines, means one drink daily for women and two for men.
This article was originally printed in Well magazine, the precursor to this site, in May 2009. Written and edited by the editorial staff of Well magazine and Well Community.