Yesterday was National Sangria Day! Sangria is a beverage made with wine and sweetened with fresh fruit and fruit juices. Other ingredients can include herbs, spices, carbonation, and liquor. The combinations are endless, giving sangria a place in the cocktail rotation year-round. Refreshing and light during hot summer months, bright and sparkling during the winter ones, this fruity punch is quite versatile.
Sangria does indeed have health benefits, sometimes even more than regular wine! This is because the added fruit bolsters the nutritional content, as with herbs and spices such as cinnamon and mint. Sangria is traditionally made with red wine. Red wine is made by fermenting dark-colored, whole grapes. It is high in antioxidants, and drinking moderate amounts has been shown to be good for health.
We speak about them all the time, but what exactly are antioxidants? Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals in your body. Free radicals are compounds that can cause harm if their levels become too high in your body. They’re linked to multiple illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Free radicals are constantly being formed in your body. Without antioxidants, free radicals would cause serious harm very quickly.
When free radicals outnumber antioxidants, it can lead to a state called oxidative stress. Prolonged oxidative stress can damage your DNA and other important molecules in your body. Sometimes it even leads to cell death. Damage to your DNA increases your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and some scientists have theorized that it plays a pivotal role in the aging process. Several factors, including lifestyle, stress, and environmental components, are known to promote excessive free radical formation and oxidative stress.
However, it is important to note that free radicals also serve important functions that are essential for health. For example, your immune cells use free radicals to fight infections.
Your body needs to maintain a certain balance between free radicals and antioxidants. When this equilibrium is disrupted, it can lead to oxidative stress. Prolonged oxidative stress leads to an increased risk of negative health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.