If you’re looking for a beverage ripe with health benefits, alcohol might not be the first thing you reach for. As you’ll be pleased to know if you are a lover of red wine, the darker grape actually has a quite a bit to offer in addition to taste and its buzz-giving abilities.

When consumed in moderation, red wine has actually been linked to a host of benefits that can make it a smart addition to your diet. From assisting in digestion and weight loss, to helping stave off certain diseases, certain grape varieties tick in a bit higher on the health barometer.

Here are some of the best red wines for health and beauty:

1. Malbec

Malbec is often considered as the best red wine for health and beauty. Boasting some of the thickest skin of the grapes, Malbec wines tend to be heavy on the resveratrol antioxidants, which translates to major benefits for your cardiovascular and immune health. In fact, some studies indicate that Malbec actually has up to four times more antioxidants than an average Merlot.

Since most Malbec grapes are grown in Argentina and Chile, they benefit from the unique weather that result from the warm Pacific Ocean air and the cold, mountain chills wafting from the Andes. It all contributes to a dense, rich soil that allows Malbec to develop a great taste and added health benefits.

2. Pinot Noir

One of the most popular, drinkable, and accessible red wines in the world, Pinot Noir also has plenty to offer when it comes to health. Like Malbec, these grapes contain a large amount of the antioxidants anthocyanins and procyanidins.

An added bonus? Thanks to the way Pinot Noir grapes ferment, they have some of lowest amounts of natural sugar of all red wines. This means lower calorie count plus a mini health boost. It’s a win win(e) situation.

3. Cabernet Sauvignon

America’s red wine of choice, this popular grape thankfully contains a few health benefits in addition to appealing to a large audience. A blend of different grapes, the flavonoid combination present in Cab Savs offers many cardiovascular and artery benefits.

In addition, this wine is helpful for stimulating the production of a protein called the amyloid precursor, a big player in neural cell health.

4. Petite Syrah

Despite the somewhat misleading name, Petite Siryahs actually produce a huge amount of natural tannins, which come loaded with the antioxidants thiol and resveratrol. This means they’re able to deliver the heart-heathy and valuable procyanidin compounds necessary to give red wine its cardiovascular and metabolic effects.

With red wine, the grapes are crushed and stored in vats to ferment with their skins on. Due to the fact that many beneficial compounds are found in grape skins, red wine is slightly higher in nutrients.

5. Madiran

With delightful notes of dark chocolate, Madrian red wines also have the happy benefit of containing huge amounts of the antioxidant procyanidins. Important for healthy blood-vessel functions and heart-disease preventing qualities, this one definitely belongs on the list.

A final word of advice? Avoid the sweet reds when possible. You might not be able all the details of the antioxidant count of the wines listed above, but you’d do well to always reach for dyer wine over a sweeter one. That’s because red wines with dryer notes tend to have much higher levels of flavonoids, polyphenols and other compounds necessary for cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory health benefits.

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