Winter Warmer

Mulled wine is such a lovely traditional drink for chilly winter days…but did you know it has some other good points as well as warming you up?

Red wine contains resveratrol, a polyphenol which has protective effects preventing damage from free radicals. Studies have shown beneficial effects of resveratrol on eye health, in particular protecting the macula which is the central part of the light sensitive retina. Red grape juice is an alternative for those who don’t drink alcohol and contains some (but less) resveratrol.

Additionally, cloves and star anise are anti-oxidants which can fight the free-radicals which are responsible for cell damage due to age. Vitamin C from the lemon or orange zest can boost immunity to viruses, and cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties as well as helping to stabilise blood sugar. Whilst we all should be keeping our sugar intake down, a small amount adds to the pleasure of what we can all reassure ourselves is positively a healthy beverage!

Ingredients

(Serves 6)

  • 750ml bottle red wine/red grape juice (resveratrol)
  • 250ml water
  • 1 large cinnamon stick, or 2 small ones (anti inflammatory)
  • 2 star anise (anti oxidant)
  • 4 cloves (anti oxidant)
  • 2 strips lemon or orange zest, pared using a vegetable peeler (vitamin C)
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar (or less, to taste) (energy)

Method

Step 1 Put the red wine, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, lemon zest and sugar in a large pan. Cook on a low heat for 10 mins.

Step 2 Remove from the heat and cool, leaving to infuse for about 30 mins.

Step 3 To serve, heat without boiling, and pour into mugs or heatproof glasses.

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