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Fine With Wine

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Your palate may like wine red or white, flat or sparkling, robust or mild... but your body isn’t so discerning. Rhea Dhanbhoora & Dev Goswami tell you why keeping a few bottles of wine at home is so healthy for you — and you don’t even have to be a wine drinker to reap the benefits!

While the world continues to debate over how much wine is good for you, there’s one thing no one can question — the fact that it is good for you. Whether you’re splashing it on your face to tone your skin, dipping your hair in it to make it shinier, adding it to your meals for a little antioxidant boost or simply sipping on a glass to help your heart, the benefits of wine are endless. We’re not going to tell you about the different types of wine, or how to pick one type over the other, but we are helping you celebrate this delicious drink by telling you all about the benefits you can reap from it. So, crack open a bottle, pour yourself a glass and read on...

Put it on your face
The fact that wine makes for a very good facial is no secret. These facials used to be a luxurious, exclusive treatment, but they’ve been steadily gaining popularity in recent times. Several properties of wine (which include anti-ageing and therapeutic benefits) help you de-stress, while helping to rejuvenate your skin.

Do it at home: It’s very easy to create a wine facial at home, but remember to steam your face first. The best wine facials include a mixture of raw egg white, honey, red wine and raw sugar. Massage this or your face for ten minutes and then wash it off with cold water. If you have sensitive skin, mix the red wine with a little rose water.

Scrub it on
Just like a wine facial, a wine scrub or exfoliant is also very good for your skin. You can also use crushed grapes if you don’t want to put wine on your skin, but a combination of grapes and wine works like a charm and removes dead cells, while improving blood circulation in your skin.

Do it at home: Mix a little grape pulp with red wine and scrub your face and body. It’s that simple, and you can do it whenever your skin needs a pick-me-up.

Rosy cheeks & lighter skin
Fabric is not the only thing that wine seems capable of staining. It can also help you get rosy cheeks! Wine can help lighten your skin tone, so say goodbye to pricey masks and creams and invest in a good bottle of wine instead.

Do it at home: This one is a little suspect, but it’s still a fun trick to try. Apply a few drops of wine (red of course) on your cheeks to get a natural blush. You may be visited by a few happy fruit flies though, so beware. To lighten your skin tone, mix egg, wine and honey together and use it as a pack for 20 minutes. If you want to avoid using egg, you can substitute it with yoghurt.

Clear and tone your skin
A wine massage will help you get clear, glowing skin, because it contains several polyphenols that prevent cell oxidation. It’s also a very good toner.

Do it at home: This is an easy beauty trick. Simply spray red wine on your face and then massage it in (very gently) for a few minutes. You can also mix it with oatmeal and massage it on to your skin. To tone your skin, soak cotton in red wine, apply it on your skin and wash it off after 30 minutes.

Improve your hair quality
For thick, silky hair, use a hair mask that has been prepared with wine. It will make your hair extremely shiny and also improve its quality in the long run.
n Do it at home: You don’t need to invest in expensive products, or even spend too much time on this beauty fix. All you need to do is use wine to rinse your hair out after you’ve shampooed and conditioned it. It might be expensive, but it works.

Remove wrinkles
If you buy organic red wine, you can be assured that it is full of antioxidants such as flavanoid. It also contains resveratrol and tannin, both of which help fight free radicals and prevent ageing. This means that wine can boost sagging skin and prevent wrinkles. It also helps lighten pigmentation.

Do it at home: All you have to do to reduce fine lines and wrinkles is apply red wine topically on your skin. Use organic wine, and do this once or twice a week.

We know that wholegrain bread is healthy because it is rich in fibre and yoghurt is healthy because of its probiotic content, but have you ever wondered why red wine is so good for your health? Nutritionist Tripti Gupta explains that wine is healthy because of the various phenol and polyphenol compounds that it contains. The polyphenols present in red wine are basically antioxidants that have been shown to help protect the lining of your heart’s blood vessels and so, they can lower your risk of suffering from heart disease.

Of all the compounds, researchers believe that resveratrol — a type of polyphenol that is present in red wine — is key to lending wine its health benefits. Resveratrol is a compound that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol and also prevents your blood from clotting. All these properties help your heart, as damaged blood vessels and high LDL cholesterol have been known to lead to heart conditions.

However, it must be noted that resveratrol comes from the skin of grapes — from which wine is made — and so, even eating grapes or drinking fresh grape juice can help provide similar benefits. Red wine is said to be better than white wine because it is fermented with grape skins for a longer time than its counterpart, and so, has a higher resveratrol content than white wine.

There is also a new study that found that wine might be able to provide health benefits similar to those provided by diary products. The study, conducted in Spain, found the presence of probiotics — especially a bacteria called Lactobacillus — which is usually found in dairy products such as yoghurt. The benefits of this bacteria range from healthy bowel function to possible, anti-cancer and cholesterol-lowering properties.

Drinking is not the only way to consume wine. Read on as we tell you about different ways you can include wine in your diet.

  • Wine ice cubes: No, this is not a party trick. This is actually a way to preserve wine (to add flavour to your recipes) without having to store and maintain wine bottles. Simply pour wine in an ice cube tray and freeze it. The next time you want to add some extra flavour to your soup or sauce, all you have to do is pop in two or three wine cubes.
  • Marinade: Wine is a popular meat marinade — it makes your meat more flavourful and studies have shown that using a wine marinade can help reduce the cancer-causing compounds that are present in meat. To ensure that you get these anti-carcinogenic properties, you’ll need to marinate your meat for at least six hours. In case you’re wondering how to marinate the meat, try this simple recipe – one cup of red wine with a cup of oil and some seasoning. 
  • Sauté: This is an uncommon, but excellent way to add flavour to your vegetables. While sautéing your vegetables, use less oil and butter and adjust the proportions with some wine instead. Your vegetables will be crispier, juicier and more flavourful.
  • Reduction: This is a classic way to make sauces that taste great with shallow-fried meat. All you have to do is add a cup or two of wine (depending on the quantity of the sauce) just before you set it to simmer. Let the sauce simmer for a good 15-20 minutes to let the alcohol evaporate and allow the wine to work its magic.


  • Dye something: Did you know that you can use wine to colour things? This wouldn’t be a very useful trick to use white wine with, but red wine can be used to dye a variety of fabric. You won’t always get the same shade, but it will lend an interesting colour to your fabrics if you heat it and let fabric sit in it for a while.
  • Disinfect your kitchen: Got a stain on your kitchen counter? Wine can come to the rescue! The alcohol content in wine can disinfect your kitchen while removing stains at the same time. But, be careful around chairs and sofas, because as we’ve already told you, wine stains make a pretty permanent dye there!
  • Get your fruits clean: Wine may be very good for your skin, hair and health, but it’s also really good for the fruits and vegetables that you consume. And, don’t worry, you won’t be drinking it in them. Because of the alcohol content of the wine, impurities on the surface of your fruits are killed, making fruits and vegetables safer to eat after they’re soaked in them.
  • Drink it clean: Alright, maybe not as literally. You will still have to clean your wine glasses after you’ve enjoyed a few drinks in them, but wine is also a really great way to clean a dirty, spotted glass. You can even clean your windows and mirrors with it — but remember only to use slightly spoiled, white wine.
  • Trap the flies: Have you noticed how fruit flies always seem to find their way to the rim of your wine glass? Use this against them by keeping a glass of wine on the counter, wrapped in plastic. Poke some small holes in the plastic so that the flies fall into the wine and get stuck — trapping them and getting rid of your fruit fly problem.
  • Say goodbye to grease: White wine can help you clean grease stains from around your house, again, because of its alcohol content.
  • Mop up the spill: This one is really surprising. If you spill red wine anywhere, flood the stain with white wine and quickly mop it up. One wine absorbs the other, helping you avoid a nasty mess. Sounds like a good reason to keep white wine around now, doesn’t it?!

The benefits of wine
The health benefits of wine are oft-repeated, so we’re sure that you know all about them. But, just in case your memory fails you, nutritionist Tripti Gupta gives us a refresher:

  • Promotes longevity.
  • Reduces your risk of a heart attack.
  • Lowers your risk of heart disease.
  • Reduces the risk of type-2 diabetes.
  • Lowers the risk of suffering from a stroke.
  • Lowers the risk of cataracts.
  • Lowers the risk of colon cancer.
  • Slows brain decline.

Wondering what type of wine to pick for your beauty routine? While red wine is the most commonly used type of wine when it comes to beauty benefits, you shouldn’t forget about the white! Pick it according to your skin type. White wine contains mostly the same qualities, so its benefits are the same, just in smaller quantities. So, for very sensitive or very fair skin, white wine is a better option than red. It also depends on what benefits you want to focus on. Use red wine for its anti-ageing properties and use white if you want to prevent acne. Both will tone your skin, but if you’ve got dry skin you should use white wine, while oilier skin types will benefit more from red.

Beauty Benefits Present In Wine
Wine contains AHAs, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that help fight acne and make your pores look smaller, as well as treat oily and congested skin. It is very rich in amino acids and can prevent sun damage and skin cancer. It also hydrates your skin, keeping it nourished and moisturised. The resveratrol content in the wine helps hair growth, prevents hair fall, reduces flakiness, dandruff and itchiness and also nourishes your scalp.

The Limit
We keep hearing about how the benefits of wine are only applicable when it is consumed in a moderate amount. Are you confused what the moderate amount translates to in real life? Tripti has the answer. She tells us, “When we suggest moderate consumption of wine, we are referring to approximately 150ml of wine. And since an average wine glass measures 200ml, a healthy serving of wine is ideally ¹/³ of a wine glass for up to three times a week.”

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