Should red wine be considered a functional food?

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39 Citations (Scopus)


Functional foods may be regarded as foods that have nutritional value, but in particular, they also have beneficial effects on one or more body functions. Thus, functional foods may improve health and/or reduce the risk of developing certain diseases when taken in amounts that can be consumed in a normal diet. Based on nearly 2 decades of research since the term 'French paradox' was first coined in 1992, wine would appear to fit this definition. Yet there seems to be reluctance to consider wine as a functional food. In this review, we present an overview of the accumulated evidence for the health benefits of wine'and its key phenolic components such as resveratrol, quercetin, catechin'and show that these alone are not enough to firmly establish wine as a functional food. What is required is to create clearly defined products based on wine that are targeted to consumers' needs and expectations when it comes to purchasing functional foods. Moreover, the crucial question of alcohol and health also needs to be addressed by the functional food industry. Suggestions are presented for working through this issue, but in many regards, wine is like any other food'it should be consumed sensibly and in amounts that are beneficial to health. Overindulgence of any kind does not promote good health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-551
Number of pages22
JournalComprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010


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