Natural Wine: All The Health Benefits + Why You Should Make The Switch
A glass of wine after dinner or on the weekend with friends is a fun way to socialize and unwind. Red wine has even been shown to help lower inflammatory markers like CRP. But have you ever woke up the next morning feeling less-than-optimal and dehydrated after just one glass? It certainly makes you question whether that drink was worth it.
As a functional medicine practitioner, my patients ask me all the time how they can enjoy wine without harming their health. With anything, especially alcohol, moderation is key, but it goes far beyond the alcohol itself. Most of us don’t consider what is in the wine we are consuming and how those ingredients can impact our health. Even the way wine is grown can make a difference on how you feel the next morning.
In fact, most people don’t know that there are two different types of wine - conventional and natural. It all boils down to the growing, fermentation, and production of each bottle. So, let’s take a look at the differences between the two and why you should be purchasing natural wine for your enjoyment and optimal health.
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1. The growing process
Irrigation is a common practice in farming as it lowers the overall cost for wine companies while also increasing the fruit yield. While it may produce more grapes overall, irrigation isn’t ideal for the vine and lowers the nutrient density of the grapes themselves. And since part of the benefit of red wine is its antioxidant polyphenol content, we want to keep these as high as possible.
2. High in sugar
To make wine, you ferment grape juice by adding yeast which eats the sugar in the juice. This produces alcohol and carbon dioxide. Conventional wine makers typically add in additional sulfites (these also occur naturally at low amounts due to the fermentation process) which kill off the yeast early before it has the chance to eat all of the sugar - leaving residual sugar in the final product. Additionally, a lot of brands add more sugar into the wine to achieve a particular flavor or sweetness to attract different consumers.
Most conventional wines rely on GMO, lab-made yeasts for fermentation because of their low costs which allow for mass production. While good for business, these aren’t the best for our health.
4. High alcohol content
Wait, wouldn’t you want your wine to give you a little bit of a buzz? Most people do at least. But studies have shown that large amounts of alcohol can affect your cognitive function. Most people don’t need a super high alcohol content to still enjoy a glass of wine and a little buzz without waking up the next day with a headache or residual brain fog.
1. Dry farmed
Instead of relying on irrigation, natural wine farmers let the vines find their natural water source, a process known as “dry farming.” Not only does it produce a more nutrient-dense grape, dry farming saves millions of gallons of water each year.
2. Low sugar content
Natural wines are also fully fermented wines. Instead of adding in extra sulfites, natural winemakers allow the yeast to eat all of the sugar resulting in wines much lower in sugar. In fact, a lot of natural wines can be considered “sugar-free” at less than 1g per bottle. Because of this, these wines can also be considered paleo and keto-friendly. Now that’s a win in my book.
3. Low in sulfites
Many people have a sensitivity to sulfites which can contribute to side effects such as swelling, digestive pain, and headaches. Since natural wines don’t add in additional sulfites during the fermentation process, it results in wines that only contain low-levels of naturally occurring sulfites. Looking at it this way, sulfites can naturally occur in wine up to 30ppm (parts per million) per bottle, whereas conventional wines typically have between 150-300ppm per bottle.
Dry Farm Wines
This is why I source all of my wine from Dry Farm Wines. As a company, they are committed to partnering with winemakers from all over the world that fall in line with specific standards they have set for natural wine.
All wines Dry Farm Wines are:
- Dry farmed (hence the name!)
- Naturally or biodynamically farmed
- Lab tested for purity
- Sugar-free (<0.15g/glass)
- Lower alcohol (<12.5%)
- Handcrafted/Small Batch
- Old World International Natural Wines
- Mycotoxin/mold free
- Wild, native yeast
- Free of Industrial Additives
- Grown From Older Vines (35-100 years)
Instead of spending hours researching companies, I can subscribe to a monthly or bi-monthly subscription to get a variety of high-quality red, white, and rosé wines delivered straight to my door.
Since wine doesn't have nutritional labels, I can trust that each bottle I receive lines up with their strict standards because Dry Farm Wines is transparent in what they look for from each winemaker and in each bottle.
Every shipment includes free shipping and their promise of a full refund should you not love what was sent to you. Although I don’t drink wine often (I consider it a special treat), I personally noticed a difference in how I felt the next day after my first bottle of Dry Farm Wines. And the taste reflects the quality in the bottle. Just how you can taste the difference in high-quality meat or produce, you can taste the purity in each sip.
For a limited time, with each new Dry Farm Wines subscription order, you’ll get an extra bottle for only a penny! So whether you are a fan of red wine or prefer something lighter like white wine or rosé, you’ll love Dry Farm Wines. It’s a difference your taste buds will thank you for as well as your health. Grab your subscription here.
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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
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BY DR. WILL COLE
Dr. Will Cole, IFMCP, DNM, DC, leading functional medicine expert, consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He received his doctorate from Southern California University of Health Sciences and post doctorate education and training in functional medicine and clinical nutrition. He specializes in clinically researching underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. Dr. Cole was named one of the top 50 functional medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is the best selling author of Ketotarian and The Inflammation Spectrum.