Hack red wine for a better experience
Wine is a complex drink. Between the grapes, fermentation, and your personal chemistry there are countless reasons for wine headaches. However there are several methods to try before giving up on your evening glass of wine.
Dehydration is the number one cause of headaches. Since alochol has a diuretic effect, you're being dehydrated by drinking alochol instead of water, plus increased trips to the bathroom. Drink one full glass of water after each glass of wine. Ordering a water with your wine is the best bet, or just keep a pitcher of water at your table.
Alcohol causes our pituitary gland to stop releasing a hormone called anti-diuretic hormone (ADH). The lack of ADH tells our kidneys to increase urination, thus reducing water in our body. To compensate we need to increase our water intake or the body will start becoming dehydrated. Without increased water intake an alcohol induced headache is extremely likely.
Since the brain is 80% water dehydration literally shrinks the brain. A headache is then caused as the brain pulls away from the skull. The discomfort is further agravrated by a drop in blood volume which reduces oxygen to the brain causing inflammation. Preventing dehydration with regular consumption of water is ideal. However once a dehydration headache occurs consider frequent drinks including electrolyte replacements. Frequent small drinks will be more effective then forcing a single large drink.
Alcohol and sugar both cause inflammation and dehydration. Your body needs excess water to process both substances and if you are not drinking enough water the combination hastens your dehydration. If your sipping wine, skip dessert and drink another glass of water.
When consuming large amounts of sugar the body needs large amounts of water to balance out excess sugar in the blood stream. Water is pulled from throughout the body to accomplish this, which contributes to dehydration. Once the sugar is diluted it needs to be removed from the body resulting in increased urination.
Your headaches may be caused by histamine. Food that has been aged such as cheese and wine causes the body to release histamine causing an allergy like headache. Histamine is highier in red wine then white. Taking a Claritian or similar histamine blocker one hour prior to drinking could help. You may also want to try a dry white.
The body produces histamine in response to a foreign substance such as pollen or dust. In wine histamine is created by bacteria and yeast during the fermentation. There is speculation this may induce allergy like symptoms for those sensitive to histamine. In addition alcohol may increase congestion, which contributes to allergy like symptoms. If histamine is the culprit often the effects will be noticed soon after drinking the wine.
Tannins resulting from the grapes skin and seeds give alcohol, including red wine, its color and bitterness. Conversely clear alcohols, including white wine, are much lower in tannins. If you notice more headaches with red wine or dark liquor in general as compared to white wine, tannins may be your nemesis.
Tannins are naturally occurring molucles in plants. Tannis give wine bitterness and complexity. Wine tannins are the product of fermenting grape skins and wooden barrels. Due to the extended fermentation process during which the skins are in contact with the wine red wines typically have higher tannin levels then white wine. tannins are also found in several types of food such as nuts, tea, and dark chocolate. To test for a tannin intolerance try steeping black tea and extra 10 minutes. If drinking the tea results in a head ache tannins could be the culprit.
Your wines chemical profile is complex so changing the verity will introduce a different chemical profile that could jive better with your personal physiology. Write down the brand and varity of what gave you a headache and what dosnt. Focus on the headache free varities and soon you'll have a personal wine whitelist.
Wine grapes are typically named after the region they are from. An example is the Bordeaux grape which originated in Bordeaux, France. Different grapes will exhibit different charastics influcened by ripening time, soil type, color, and then further impacted by the fermentation process. The container used for the fermation also impacts the wines chemical profile. Since the principle wine varieties follow similar growing and fermentation process using the same grape monitoring your reaction to individual varieties could help narrow down wines that trigger headaches.