There is an on-going debate that we are bombarded with lots of adverts, however there are many facts, tips and information that can be lost in translation. My personal feeling is that it can become overwhelming and we decide to stay away from it by simply not noticing much. That’s how our attention span becomes shorter and shorter.
As a wine drinker, I am concerned about staying very healthy. My friend once told me that it is not in the gym we become healthier, but in our homes. Nutrition is increasingly important. We all know life situations cannot be resolved by overeating or binge drinking, so it could be worth looking beyond our bodies and treating ourselves better.
This article aims to combine science behind nutrition and wine drinking with some practical tips that you can use right now. I invite everyone to share your own thoughts, as I am sure you’ve got your personal ticks. Together we can make our lives just ever so slightly better.
We want it or not, but wine is alcohol and it is in a nutshell a toxin. We drink a glass or two with our friends or family as a social occasion, but also enjoy it with our meals daily. Natural wine is an amazing produce that reflects the soil, the grape, the environment, but also passionate winemaking. It is where nature and people work in sync to produce a drink made of organic grapes without any use of preservatives or sulphites. At Organic Wine Club, this is how we see it.
There may be benefits, but alcohol also affects the following:
Knowledge is power, so we are now equipped with it to deal with these effects.
Vitamin A - found in sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens (broccoli, spinach, kale), tuna, peppers, carrots, tomatoes.
Vitamin B1 (thiamin) - found in beef, nuts, oranges, pork and peas.
Vitamin B9 (folate) - found in avocado, dark leafy greens (broccoli, spinach, kale), peas, lentils, tomatoes.
Vitamin D - found in mushrooms, fish, pork, eggs, chicken and turkey
Many of the above ingredients will help you to get back to that alkaline balance. Simply think about adding more lentils, avocados and sweet potatoes into your meals. Trust me, it will help you.
Hydration is simple, but we forget about it so easily. Take at least a glass of water for every small glass of wine to help meet your daily recommendation of 2 litres of water per day. There is a debate that drinking that much water per day is required, but when you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated. Just a word of caution, water will not help your liver to absorb the alcohol.
Many people, when talking about wine’s health benefits, refer to antioxidants and resveratrol in particular. We won’t endorse drinking wine for this particular reason as many researchers agree that you need to drink gallons of wine to even start getting any benefits from resveratrol. Instead, you are better of with other foods rich in antioxidants: red beans, kidney beans, blueberries, artichoke hearts, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, dark chocolate and pecans. Wine has proven to aid cardiovascular health and some recent studies also show evidence of reducing the risk of diabetes and dementia amongst others.
If you are concerned about toxins, you can buy a supplement called Activated Charcoal (preferably made of sustainable sources of coconut) and take a recommended dose with water during your drinking. It mops out toxins effectively. Do not take it together with the other supplements as it may mop them out too!
Finally, let’s figure out how to help our liver. It breaks down alcohol slowly, so think about the speed and frequency of your drinking. There are some natural remedies and foods that aid liver detox, the main ones being garlic and beetroot.
Give your liver a rest too - have a few consecutive alcohol free days a week at least. If you ever wanted to try intermittent fasting, consider those days your fasting ones.
You can also buy some supplements to help detox your liver. One of the most powerful detox supplements, endorsed by many health gurus, is glutathione. It comes in capsules and normally labelled as reduced glutathione and it is recommended to take for every person who drinks alcohol.
It is fair to say that all of the above vitamins and minerals could be supplemented.
B9 (folic acid) is fairly difficult to get enough from food, so researchers agree that you will benefit from it added to your diet as a supplement. Vitamin D is also depleted by the lack of sunshine in the UK and that could be a cause of many other health issues starting from colds and flu to more serious ones. It’s worth to take it as a supplement from time to time.
It's important to add that not all wines are made equal health-wise. At Organic Wine Club we recognise that and only stock organic and natural wines without excessive sulphites. All of our wines are no added sulphites or lower than 45 mg/l. Sulphites are one of the known allergens, being used as an aggressive preservative and in general bad news for you. World Health Organisation recommends not to exceed 0.7mg/l of sulphites per kg of your weight. It means that a 70 kg person can have a few regular glasses of wine that contains less than 45mg/l sulphites. Unfortunately conventional wines go way above 150 mg/l mark and therefore you can experience headaches, allergic reactions or more severe symptoms if you are suffering from asthma. Read more about our health conscious wines here and learn more about main differences between organic and natural wines here.
This is where we get tonnes and tonnes of information, and if you try taking a better care of yourself, I am sure you pay attention to some of it. However sometimes those recommendations could be quite conflicting. Let’s focus on the main key areas that you can improve very quickly.
We have seen the emergence of many industries and tens of thousands of products that are ‘reduced fat’, ‘low fat’, or 0% fat. I have been buying overpriced yogurts and milks for years! Yet if you look into the statistics and check where on our planet people live longer, it won’t be us. You will find those blue zones near Japan, where they eat a lot of oily fish and also in Sardinia, famous for its Mediterranean diet with a lot of extra virgin olive oil. Another great source of fat is avocado - it is calorific, but its naturally high fat contents is so healthy for you. See more about healthy fats on our blog.
Same applies to meat - we have been taught to eat lean protein. Yet does anybody knows why? The trick is not to overcook the fat on your piece of meat not so it is blackened and scorched, but rather slowly rendered. Animal fat has a lot of protective qualities that you want to consider adding to your meals. People who are following a ketogenic diet know that it helps staying in ketosis, together with other high fat products, but also gives them enough good quality protein.
if you want to know, I am a flexitarian and I do not restrict myself from eating anything, I just eat much more veg than I eat meat. However, I do believe in ethical eating and the fact that plant based diet is the best of all. If you can get your 10 portions of veg a day (see our previous post about it and an example of a recipe here), you will make your body happy for sure.
A paleo diet is one of the effective ways how to think about healthy food. It restricts you from eating processed foods, so you can experiment with cooking your vegetables and proteins in good fats and take maximum nourishment for your body. See our paleo writeup here.
Sugar has been named as a public health enemy number 1 and it is not surprising why. It promotes inflammation, disrupts healthy processes in our gut and brings us those unnecessary sugar rush and insulin spikes. It is a source of so many diseases, so you just need to stay away. There are definitely quite a few ways how you can get sweetness into your daily nutrition, including honey.
Another word of caution, some sugars, especially fructose found in super sweet fruits, are also bad news for your liver. It will need to work ever harder to break it down. Imagine adding alcohol?
Is there sugar in wine? It is important to underline that organic and natural wines are fermented to dryness. All of them are sugar free as there could be only traces of residual sugars left. That is not the case with mass market wines - they are injected with additives to cater for sweeter palates. Stay away from them! That is why organic and natural wines are also great for people on low carbs diets - as there are minimal amounts of sugar, there aren’t much carbs either. There are some calories from alcohol obviously, so as always, drink in moderation.
We’ve touched on sulphites earlier on and they are not the only aggressive preservatives, but also one of the known allergens. Apart from them, wine can also contain traces of dairy, eggs, fishbones and cow’s intestines - all of that could be there as a result of filtration, clarification and fining procedures. It is down to a winemaker to decide what they want to do with their wine, but as a rule of thumb, natural wines are not heavily filtered and you can also opt for vegan wines. Those are the same wines to you and me, but no animal derived materials are used in the production, so you are safe to know there are no allergens there; and it is more ethical too!
It is so easy to pick up a bottle and pour something if we are bored, because we need to cheer up or when we are stressed.
Consider adding something more to your routine: go for a run, consider a magnesium drink before going to bed or simply pick up the phone and call a friend. Physical exercise, social interaction or a natural supplement - these are all good options to get our minds to a better state and you do not necessarily need a drink at all. Well, maybe water!
I personally found that meditation can become one of your best friends. I adopted a ritual to do it very first thing in the morning and just celebrated two years of daily consecutive meditations. I can honestly say that during these few years I have gone through a lot and it is down to my more agile mind that I managed to get through a few really tough things.
Finally, there is no point in feeling guilty about having a large glass of delicious natural wine. If you feel like pouring one with your meal - do it and enjoy it to the full. Savour every drop.
The above mentioned facts, studies and recommendations are here to merely serve you as a reference. We are all different. We pay attention to things that matter to us, but you can make your wine drinking and nutrition so much healthier with your own set of tools and rules. Think about foods that will help you to do so, potentially some supplements and stay away of nasty sugars and allergens.
Here at Organic Wine Club, we wish you great health and love of life for you, your family and your pet. The below list of dishes is one of our favourites to serve that fit perfectly with the facts above.
Please comment below or share with us you own success stories and tips!