Wine, Beer, and Espresso are good for you

Ode to Dionysus
Ode to Dionysus

Dark wine, hoppy beer, and dark roast coffee or espresso – sounds like my typical day’s consumption!

Excerpt from an interview with Jo Robinson on the topic of phytonutrient intake…

Tom Philpott, Mother Jones:  Now that we’re talking about my favorite stuff, we may as well discuss some of my vices. What wine grape varietals are especially high in phytos?

Jo Robinson: Almost invariably, most of them [wine grape varietals] are higher in phytonutrients than the one we eat fresh, table grapes, and the exceptions would be black and red table grapes, some of them approach the ones that we make wine out of.

MJ: Great. But any differences among them—say, cabernet vs. pinot noir?

JR: Of course, red wines are much higher in phytonutrients than white wines. In terms of reds, pinot noir is kind of middle of the road in terms of antioxidant activity, because in a way you can just hold that bottle of red wine up to the light and the darker it is, denser, the more phytonutrients it contains. So the ones that are really high are cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and Sangiovese. Also, oak-aged wines—oak has a lot of phytonutrients in it which gets into the wine.

MJ: Damn it. I like my lighter red wines. Guess I just have to up my intake! Is it true that hops in beer are excellent for you?

JR: Yes. Hops are bitter—and very high in phytonutrients. So the higher the hop content, the better the beer is for you, and the more bitter it tastes. What’s so interesting in this culture is that we’re very bitter-adverse, which means that we select things that are unusually low in phytonutrients. So the best-selling beer in this country, is Bud Light.

MJ: Red wine, check, hoppy beer, check. Let’s go for the triple crown of my vices. Coffee?

JR: Coffee is very high in something called chlorogenic acid, which is a good phytonutrient, and the darker the brew, the better. Espresso is particularly high, because it tends to be darker roasted.

MJ: Darker roasts are better…really?

JR: Roasting introduces another factor—it caramelizes some of the sugars in coffee, and that caramelization process increases the antioxidant activity. Dark-roasted espresso… is favored throughout many European countries.  

(click here to continue reading Cook Your Berries. Drink Dark-Roast Coffee Instead of Light. Let Your Garlic Sit. | Mother Jones.)

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