Q) Is red wine really good with meals?
A) Yes! Red wine does help with the digestion of red meat. Grape juice and some salads can produce the same beneficial effect, but who is going to listen to that when they’ve just been given the perfect excuse to drink red wine?!
In a report published in the “Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry” an Israeli group of researchers (including pharmaceutical researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and gastrointestinal specialists at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem) found that the stomach IS better able to digest red meat in the presence of red wine. They found that red wine helps the stomach remove potentially harmful substances found in red meats, which are released during digestion, before the chemicals can do the body harm.
The harmful chemicals from red meat, which red wine removes, are associated with diseases such as atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer, particularly colon cancer. Not good chemicals to have hanging around in the body, therefore.
For the study, the scientists fed 25 rats turkey thigh meat cutlets (this particular meat produces high levels of the chemicals in question when digested). (This is so funny!) … With the meal, the rats were served either water or red-wine concentrate and then, about 90 minutes after the meal, the scientists examined the rats’ stomachs.
They found that when the thigh meat was served with red wine, the level of one of the chemicals in the stomach was three times lower compared to the stomachs of rats that did not have wine. The amount of another chemical was twice as low for rats that were served red wine.
The scientists repeated the experiment with alcohol-free red wine and achieved similar results, which lead the researchers to conclude that it is not the alcohol itself causing the effect, but a group of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are likely the reason behind the results.
This observation – that it is the antioxidants having the good effect – is what leads to the conclusion that it is not necessary to get polyphenols from red wine alone. Grape juice or a good portion of salad could counter-balance red meat in much the same way. You take your choice!
Thank you to my hubby for that question!
All the best – Zoe