Updated: May 27, 2020
As you probably already know by now, I spent a good amount of time in Northern Italy studying the Mediterranean Diet and how to incorporate the amazing health benefits of it into our modern day life. In fact, the protocols in The 21 Day Intermittent Fasting Program and Level Up Guide are very much rooted in the Mediterranean lifestyle principles.
One pretty large component of the Mediterranean Diet is wine. Specifically red wine. Red wine has been around for a long time. The longest lived people in the world (those living to 100 or older) include a daily glass of red wine enjoyed with friends and family.
The research is out on where the heart health and life extension benefits really come from with red wine - is it the antioxidants? The stress reducing factor? The time spent with loved ones? - but what we do know is that red wine enjoyed with others is something that can help you extend and enjoy your life!
But here's the thing... there are a lot of junky wines out there. The #AENpeeps KNOW that I'm all about the quality of anything you put in your body. Whether it be the veggies, animal products, water and even wine - you need to ALWAYS look at the quality of the ingredients. From studying the longest lived people in the world, we know that the quality of the ingredients used has a direct correlation to how you look, feel and live. And if wine is something you enjoy weekly, then you need to be taking a look at that too.
So how do you know that a wine is "high quality"? Check out the 3 main factors you want to look out for below!
1. Free From Pesticides
If you're reading this, you're probably already utilizing organic fruits and veggies. You know that organic is important, but maybe you don't know why. In the next few weeks, I'll be producing a video on my YouTube channel specifically going over the details of why organic (and local) produce is not just beneficial, but necessary for health and wellness (make sure you're subscribed HERE so that you're notified when the video goes live!).
The same goes for your wine too, especially if you're having it on a weekly basis. The main chemical in pesticides, glyphosate, is really nasty. It has officially been labeled a carcinogen by the state of California AND it has been found to disrupt your healthy gut bacteria - and even though glyphosate has been found in 100% of California wines that have been tested, the cancer warning doesn't have to be labeled on the wine 😱
Look for wines that follow organic practices or are certified organic in order to avoid the nasty chemical glyphosate.
2. Low/No Sugar Content
Some wines will have added sugar in order to improve the flavor of the wine. When I studied abroad in Italy, I visited a vineyard and discussed this with the farmers there. They said that Americans tend to prefer sweeter wines (which will lead to issues ranging from terrible hangovers to type 2 diabetes) and therefore wine makers will add sugar to the wines to make it more palatable to Americans.
As you are part of the #AENpeeps, you know that you want to limit/remove any added sugars (even those in proteins bars like THIS). Stabilizing your blood glucose levels will help you to tap into fat burning mechanisms, reduce energy spikes and crashes and keep your mood stable.
Make sure to look for wine that contains zero added sugar.
3. Limited/No Mold-Toxins
Currently, the U.S. doesn't standardly test for mold-toxins in your wine. One of the mold-toxins, ochrotoxin A, has been found to increase your incidences of anxiety and chronic fatigue. This is the same issue with coffee and why I only recommend mold-tested coffee - especially if you suffer from anxiety or depression. You can learn more about mold in coffee and what I recommend instead HERE.
On the other hand, the E.U. mandates mold-toxin testing and enforces a strict 2 parts per billion limit on mold-toxins. In order to reduce the negative side effects of drinking wine/alcohol, look for wines that have been tested for the mold-toxins.
This can all be a lot to look for when it comes to choosing a wine. To be safe, I use a company that does the research for me and sets parameters (such as the ones listed above and MORE) when choosing wines - Dry Farm Wine. You can find them HERE.
I am in no way sponsored by this company, I just love what they are doing and providing an easy outlet for Americans to enjoy wine without having to suffer from all of the nasty side effects.
However, if you are out and about and finding a wine on your own, here are a few rules of thumb to follow:
1. E.U. wines are your best bet. These are the wines with the most strict production guidelines to follow. I always go for Italian wines with the DOCG labeling.
2. Look for organic or biodynamic. There may be some wines that didn't pay to go through the certification process for organic, but still use organic practices. Do your research and find out how the wine is produced and whether or not pesticides are used. Or opt for an organic wine.
Thankfully, as awareness of high quality wine has increased, it is becoming easier and easier to find good-for-you and tasty wine options. By following the above guidelines, you can enjoy your weekly red wine without the side-effects of pesticide and mold exposure!
Happy Friday, my friends!
P.S. wondering if you can have your red wine with Intermittent Fasting? Check out THIS video for the deets! 🤓
Autumn Elle Nutrition