Mark Sisson’s Definitive Guide to Wine

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Mark Sisson is a former elite endurance athlete living in Malibu. He has made health and fitness his life’s work. Thousands of readers follow his blog on healthy lifestyles. His Definitive Guide to Wine post is one of our favorites. This excerpt highlights facts you may not know about the impact of wine on your health:

Blood pressure: In people with (but not without) a genetic propensity toward efficient or “fast” alcohol metabolism, drinking red wine at dinner seems to lower blood pressure.

Cardiovascular disease: Wine consumption has a J-curve relationship to cardiovascular disease. One study found that 150 mL (5 ounces) of wine per day is better than none, while high intakes are worse for mortality. 1-2 glasses per day for men and 1 per day for women as optimal.

Stroke: Wine consumption is linked to a lower risk of ischemic stroke.

Diabetes: Light or moderate wine consumption is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetics: Type 2 diabetics who initiate red wine drinking at dinner see reduced signs of metabolic syndrome, including moderately improved glycemic control and blood lipids. Another study found that while initiating red wine consumption while dieting doesn’t improve fat loss, it also doesn’t hinder it for type 2 diabetics.

Inflammation: A study found that non-drinkers who begin regularly drinking moderate amounts of Sicilian red wine enjoy reduced inflammatory markers and improved blood lipids.

Wine versus other alcohol: Compared to other types of alcohol including beer and hard liquor, red wine has the strongest and most consistent relationship to health benefits. That may indicate there’s something different about wine, or something different about wine drinkers.

“Natural wines” can reduce or eliminate the sleep and digestive disturbances many people experience after drinking wine. They use organic, dry-farmed grapes, interesting varietals, and ancient, low-input fermentation methods to produce lower-alcohol wines with greater complexity and fewer adulterants than mass-market wines. Mark recommends Dry Farm Wines, a distributor that specializes exclusively in mail-order, organic wines with no additives.