Grapes in a vineyard

Organically Grown Grapes and Wine

Organic is one of the major buzzwords right now in all areas of life from products you use in your bathroom right down to your kitchen table. However, the title of organic can be confusing at times, and as a consumer, you want to know what you’re paying for. Although organic wine is not a hugely popular item in the United States, there are many winegrowers that are dedicated to producing organically grown grapes on sustainable vineyards. It would be a natural assumption that organically grown grapes produce organic wine, and if you think this you are right – to an extent. Read below to find out what organically grown grapes are and what types of wine these grapes can produce.

What are Organically Grown Grapes?
Like any other food item, in order for grapes to be labeled as organic, they must be grown in accordance with the principles of organic farming. In conventional wine growing, chemical fertilizers are used to protect the vines and to promote larger yields. The chemicals that are sprayed onto the fruits are also absorbed by the soil and they make their way into the leaves and the grapes being grown, meaning that these chemicals ultimately make it into the wine. Those who support organically grown grapes say that not only do these chemicals destroy the soil and surrounding land, but they also remove some of the very unique and distinct flavors that accompany grapes.

Growing grapes organically provides a unique set of challenges to winemakers. For these growers to be the most successful, they must choose the correct type of wine for the growing environment and region. One of the major concerns in growing organic grapes is the presence of mildew and rot pressures, because grapes affected by these factors will not be able to be used in the production of wine.

What is Organic Wine?
In the most basic definition, organic wine is any wine that is produced using organically grown grapes. However, there are some various legal definitions that can be quite confusing to many consumers. Currently, the only effective preservatives that allow wines to last for substantial periods of time are “non-organic.” This means that a wine can be made from organically grown grapes, but still not be considered an organic wine. The difference between organic and non-organic wines lies in the use of sulfites. Many winemakers use sulfites in very small quantities to preserve the wine and to give it a longer shelf life, but a true organic wine in the United States may not contain any added sulfites. If a wine has added sulfites, but is produced using grapes that have been grown organically, then the label may read “wine made from organic grapes.”

Growing grapes organically requires extreme patience, commitment and dedication, and many winemakers are taking up this challenge. Pick up a bottle of organic wine, or wine made from organic grapes and see how you like the taste of grapes produced responsibly and wine made without sulfites.

Woman eating fruits in a garden

Foods That Keep You Young

Aging is inevitable, but if you are eating the right foods, you can help yourself feel young for a longer period of time. A healthy lifestyle including a balanced, nutritious diet and plenty of exercise keep you looking and feeling young and in great shape. There are tons of foods that benefit you when it comes to aging, but here are four of our very favorites.

Woman holding an apple.

Apples
The old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is pretty spot on; apples contain a range of health benefits two of which are improving your body’s immune system and digestive functioning. The vitamin C content in apples provides anti-aging effects while also helping your immune system fight diseases. As you age your digestive system tends to slow down, but eating foods that are high in fiber, like apples, boost your digestive system to keep your healthy.

Woman holding a bunch of grapes.

Grapes
Grapes are one of the best fruits you can eat to help slow down the aging process. Technically classified as berries, grapes are packed with antioxidants, flavonoids, polyphenols and potassium. One of the greatest things you can do for your body as you age is to decrease your sodium intake and increase the amount of potassium you get. Potassium is associated with lowered risks of stroke, lowered blood pressure, the prevention of losing bone mineral density and decreased risks of heart disease. Grapes contain the flavonoid quercetin, which is a natural anti-inflammatory. Quercetin benefits you as you age by reducing the risk of atherosclerosis, a disease of the arteries by a buildup of plaque, and is thought to have anti-cancer benefits, although more human studies are needed. Polyphenols in grapes also work to lower your blood pressure and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Lastly, the polyphenol resveratrol helps to protect your body against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. As if that wasn’t enough, resveratrol is also a key player in keeping your skin looking young and healthy.

Woman holding kale.

Kale
There’s a reason you hear about kale all the time, it’s truly a superfood and it can help combat aging. Kale is an incredibly nutrient dense food and comes with very little calories; a one-cup serving of cooked kale contains only 36 calories. Kale contains vitamins K, A, E and B vitamins 1, 2, 3 and 6 in addition to manganese, copper, calcium, potassium, iron, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and folate. Kale is rich in antioxidants and the beta-carotene and lutein content protect your body against oxidative damage from free radicals. It is also thought that kale helps protect against cancers such as breast, colon, bladder, prostate and ovaries.

Woman eating walnut

Walnuts
Nuts in moderation are great for your health and walnuts may be the most beneficial of them all. Walnuts are full of protein, healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants and a host of vitamins and minerals. One of the most frustrating parts of aging is the loss of mental sharpness and walnuts help fight this. Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, melatonin and antioxidants that all slow cognitive decline. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that those whose diets included a healthy amount of nuts showed that body mass index, body weight and waist circumference were controlled among the groups of individuals who consumed a healthy amount of nuts. Additionally, the amino acid l-arginine can provide vascular benefits to those who are at risk of or have heart disease.

Eating a varied diet full of lean proteins, fresh produce and whole grains is one of the greatest things you can do for your body at any age. Selecting foods that have amazing nutritional content, like the four above, help keep you healthy and young.