Bottle of red? Bottle of white? No matter your preference, wine lovers everywhere are encouraged to celebrate their favorite beverage this month. May 25 is National Wine Day, and as you settle in with a glass of your favorite vintage, take a moment in your day to learn a bit about the history of one of the world’s favorite beverages, as well as some of its surprising health benefits.
A very vintage pastime
A love of wine has permeated our consciousness for nearly as long as humankind has been around. The image of opulent Roman emperors on their thrones drinking flagons of wine is a popular one, but this grape-based libation has been around much longer even than the Romans, Greeks or other ancient civilizations. According to The New York Times, evidence of wine cultivation has been found as far back as 6000 B.C.E., when ancient Egyptians buried their pharaohs with bottles of wine and tracked grape harvests on their tomb walls.
Wine production was practiced throughout the eras, and spread from civilization to civilization through trade. The drink was so popular that it was even used in early Christian religious sacraments, a tradition that continues to this day.
A beneficial beverage
Sure wine tastes good, is a great way to celebrate special occasions with friends and family and goes well with meals, but did you know that partaking of the grape is also good for you? Red wine in particular has been reported to boast a variety of health benefits, specifically when it comes to maintaining a healthy heart. According to The Mayo Clinic, the crimson-hued drink reduces levels of bad cholesterol, raises levels of good cholesterol and works to prevent blood clots, making this festive drink a triple threat of cardiopulmonary health. This is due to the high levels of antioxidants called flavonoids that red wine contains, which strengthen the lining of your heart and blood vessels to keep them healthy.
Additionally, a study from Yale-New Haven Hospital found that an antioxidant called resveratrol may also be instrumental in preventing the development of tumors in some forms of cancer.
To reap these enticing health benefits, don’t be shy about indulging in your favorite drink. Yale reported that having one to two 4- to 8-ounce servings of red wine a day may maximize the drink’s positive effect. Further, if you want to drink for heart health, researchers found that Cabernet Sauvignon contained the highest level of flavonoids, while Merlot contained a much lower amount.