Red Wine and Mac and Cheese Good for Your Health!

| January 24, 2014 | 0 Comments


A fire is roaring in the fireplace warming your toes.  You sip a glass of Amarone, all the while smelling the aroma of smoked provolone cheese melting in your Iron Skillet Italian-Inspired Mac and Cheese.  (Recipe below).   Studies reveal that red wine, consumed in moderation and with meals, contributes toward a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that where the diet is high in fat, those who drink red wine with meals have a lower incidence of heart attacks. So, feel at peace in enjoying that glass of red wine and plate of stringy and delicious Mac and Cheese, gourmet style!

In European countries, more than in North America, wine is considered a food. And in my opinion wine qualifies as a super food because of its outstanding health benefits. There are white grapes and black grapes. Within these categories there are many shades in between. But grapes with black skin have significant health benefits.

I agree with the researchers and scientists who believe wine consumed in moderation is healthy and medicinal. Doctors suggest 4 ounces per day for women and no more than 8 ounces per day for men is considered moderate. Wine, in general, when consumed in moderation (defined by the American Heart Association as one to two four-ounce glasses a day)  has proven through studies to promote longevity, all the while lowering the risks of heart attacks, heart disease, strokes, type 2 Diabetes, gallstones, cataracts, colon cancer and mental decline.

While cultivation and weather conditions of a wine region are important elements in the level of antioxidants in grapes, their genetic differences play a greater role. Darker  grapes have higher levels of anthocyanin pigments. This gives them their red, purple and blue colours and adds to their level of antioxidant activity.

Purple grapes have more antioxidant power than red grapes, research now reveals.  So Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are believed to be richer in antioxidants than Merlot, at least according to a 2011 study published in ‘Biotechnology & Biotechnology Equipment.’

Polyphenols are antioxidant compounds in grapes that influence their color and taste. A new 2009 study published in ‘Food Chemistry’ revealed a powerful relationship between antioxidants and phenolic levels. Of the 37 wines studied Cabernet had the greatest number of antioxidants.

Resveratrol is also an antioxidant in red wine. According to the National Cancer Institute, this antioxidant reduces the growth of tumors and the spread of cancer cells. In a 2003 study published in ‘Drugs Under Experimental and Clinical Research’ of the 19 red wines studied, Merlot had the highest concentration of resveratrol.

New research in Germany has shown that a compound present in darker grape skins and red wine called Resveratrol is believed to reduce the number of fat cells and may be used to treat and prevent obesity. In an article in Science Daily the article states, “The new finding is consistent with the theory that the resveratrol in red wine explains the French paradox, the observation that French people eat a relatively high-fat diet but have a low death rate from heart disease.” “Resveratrol has anti-obesity properties by exerting its effects directly on the fat cells,” Fischer-Posovszky said. “Thus, resveratrol might help to prevent development of obesity or might be suited to treating obesity.”  Guercetin is another antioxidant and is believed to help prevent lung cancer. Interestingly, drinking red wine in moderation also helps prevent tooth decay by hardening the enamel.

The polyphenols in red wine can also prevent gum disease. Red wines, more than whites, usually contain higher alcohol. Alcohol, when consumed in moderation, raises your levels of good HDL cholesterol and helps to prevent blood clots and protects your arteries from the damage caused by bad LDL cholesterol. The alcohol in wine has anti-bacterial power as well and can help prevent against the common cold. Remember, red wine and its alcohol is only healthy when consumed in moderation and with food.

So, cozy up to that fireplace and enjoy your glass of Amarone with your Italian inspired comfort food.

Cast Iron Italian Inspired Mac and Smoked Cheese

Serves 4

12- to 14.5-ounces of  whole-grain pasta

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 to 2 1/2 cups grated combined Smoked Provolone and , divided in half

4 to 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup grated Parmiagiano

Preheat broiler. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (covered to speed things up). Heat a large cast-iron skillet over low heat.When the water boils, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.  Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce: Put the butter into the now very-hot skillet. It should melt, foam, and begin to brown almost immediately. Pour in the milk, then add the mustard, paprika, and salt, and whisk together. Set aside 1/2 cup of the provolone and Parmiagiano for topping the final dish. Begin to add the rest of the cheese to the skillet, one handful at a time, whisking between each addition. When it has all melted, sift the flour over the skillet, one tablespoon at a time, whisking after each spoonful. Stop adding the flour when the sauce is thickened. Continue to cook the sauce, whisking constantly, until pasta is cooked. Drain the pasta well and add to the skillet, then remove from the heat. Stir pasta and cheese sauce together until fully combined, then sprinkle the top with the reserved grated cheeses. Broil until top is melted and bubbly, 4 minutes. Cool for a few minutes before serving.

If you love wine and cheese, be sure to get your own copy of The Wine and Cheese Lovers’ Cookbook.  It’s FREE.  Click the cookbook cover below.





About the Author ()

Shari Darling is an award-winning and best-selling author and columnist, educator and speaker specializing in wine, food and the partnership between them.

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