Blue Zones Power 9: Wine at 5
As we enjoy the last days of summer, this month's Blue Zones Power 9 topic reminds us that the key to longevity and happiness lies in moderation - this includes indulgence, in moderation. Lifestyle Habit #9: Wine at 5 not only highlights the benefits of the Mediterranean's favored adult beverage, but also inspires us to question and rethink our culture's relationship with wine and other indulgences.
Close your eyes and imagine summer in the Mediterranean. What comes to mind? For us, it’s the ocean, a long meal, close friends and family, fresh food, fresh air, bare feet, music in the background, flowing wine…
Adopting a Mediterranean lifestyle means making a commitment to yourself and your loved ones to bring this idyllic dream to life every day, as often as possible, for the sake of a longer, healthier and happier life. The Power 9 we’ve summarized every month breaks this lifestyle down into the 9 most commonly identifiable habits amongst the Blue Zones - habits you can incorporate into your life.
Today, we focus on #9: Wine at 5. Like the Mediterranean diet itself, the practice encompasses more than what is consumed. It speaks to a general perspective on indulgence - embracing it, doing so mindfully, and in the Mediterranean way, promoting community and tradition.
A few facts for you to sip on:
- The inhabitants of the Blue Zones all drink alcohol (except Lomo Linda) and it is seen as an important factor to their longevity.
- Scientific studies have concluded that low to moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers, on average.
- Specifically, a moderate consumption of wine, especially red wine, has been found to lower mortality risk and protect against cardiovascular diseases, mostly attributed to its polyphenol content 
- Polyphenol content?! Yes! Our favorite fluid food (EVOO) and red wine share this significant life-enhancing nutrient
- Polyphenols are found in the skin of fruits; because red wine involves longer contact with grape skins… its polyphenol levels are higher (than white wine)!
- From “Longevity Link: How Wine Helps You Live Longer,” “Wine in moderation has been shown to be beneficial if consumed as part of a Mediterranean diet, which is defined by a high consumption of beans, greens, nuts, olive oil, and whole grains and a low consumption of meat and processed foods. This means that wine, as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, can be beneficial to your health. It does not mean that wine will somehow “cancel out” the negative effects of a poor diet (high in processed foods and saturated fat).”
- Lastly, the relationship between total mortality and alcohol does follow a bell curve, and the beneficial effects of moderate consumption are lost when consumption is excessive
Wine at 5 is not just about drinking alcohol for the sake of it - scientists cite that the benefits lie in the ritual and context around it. Alcohol consumption in the Blue Zones is done in the context of an overall Mediterranean diet, community and purposefully destressing; it’s frequently consumed but always in moderation, in the company of others and with meals. It’s an additive to an already emotionally, mentally and physically healthy ritual.
This same philosophy is applied to life and all indulgences in the Blue Zones; foods or experiences don’t cause stress or inspire sacrifice, instead indulgences are celebrated, enjoying them infrequently preserves their special status, and they’re always shared and enjoyed mindfully.
Head to our blog to read more about the Power 9 and check out the studies and literature we read to better understand these topics!
Always consult your physician about your personal health needs. We support the pursuit of a longer, healthier life and the responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages. We do not support illegal or unsafe drinking behavior.
Alcohol misuse often affects more than just one person, it can cause stress and worry for friends and family. It can be difficult to communicate your concerns. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol, please visit Rethinking Drinking to learn more about resources available to you.
- The Fluid Aspect of the Mediterranean Diet in the Prevention and Management of Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes: The Role of Polyphenol Content in Moderate Consumption of Wine and Olive Oil. Nutrients. 2019 Nov 19
- Mediterranean alcohol-drinking pattern and mortality
- Wine, Polyphenols, and Mediterranean Diets. What Else Is There to Say?
- Wine Intake in the Framework of a Mediterranean Diet and Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases