Note: We’re sending out the weekly missive early this week, as we’re headed to spend some much-needed time with our family for Thanksgiving. Plus, we thought you might want to give this a read before your own turkey dinner...

Bad news. Turkey is NOT the healthier meat.

It’s not even white meat.

In fact, turkey meat, like a big steak, produces high levels of a toxic chemical in your stomach.

Of course, these facts won’t stop me from scarfing down as much turkey as humanly possible.

Fortunately, I’ve got a secret to make my turkey much healthier...

But first, resident wine expert Julien Miquel is here to take you through a week in paradise, to discover some of the most delightful wine & food pairings in cuisines from all over the world...

Is Turkey Meat Deadly Cont'd

It’s a secret that traces its origins all the way back to the Holy Bible’s New Testament.

Today, studies confirm that this secret not only makes red meat much healthier, but also speeds digestion, promotes overall gut health, and even makes your food taste better.

Curious? I was too.

But first, what’s the problem with red meat anyway? And isn’t turkey supposed to always be the healthier option?

I know I’ve heard many times that turkey (specifically turkey burgers) are the healthier option to red meat.

Let’s unpack why that is.

It is true that white turkey breast meat is a leaner meat. There’s less fat in it.

But as the medical world is just now starting to admit... fat’s not really a problem. Fat helps us absorb vitamins. Fat gives us energy. Our brain needs plenty of fat to function. In 2016, a Harvard professor went on record calling forty years of low-fat diets “a failed experiment.”

Meanwhile dark turkey meat (like that from the thigh) is actually a type of red meat. It’s dark precisely because of red muscle fibers found in the meat.

Red meat itself is similarly misunderstood. On the one hand, red meat is, in a way, the only true superfood. An animal grazes for hours a day, taking in a wide range of vitamins and minerals that we then get to consume in a bite or two. Many people think red meat is bad because the fats within it block up the arteries. Go search the National Library of Medicine. You’ll find scores of studies stating again and again: fat does not cause blocked arteries, chronic inflammation does.

So what’s the problem with red meat, then?

Rancid fat, aka lipid hydroperoxide.

Lipid hydroperoxide is cytotoxic. That is, it’s poisonous to our cells, in the same way that many snake venoms are.

Imagine it like a rotting apple. If you put a rotting apple into a bunch of healthy apples, the rotting apple will gradually spread its rot to the others, ruining the bunch (thus the expression “one bad apple can spoil a bunch”).

Thus, having lipid hydroperoxide sitting around your gut is not ideal.

For a solution, we turn to, where else, an epistle from St Paul.  

“Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake.”

Such was St Paul’s advice to Timothy, his delegate at Ephesus.

Turns out, St Paul was ahead of his time.

A study on turkey meat cutlets and red wine found that while turkey meat increases lipid hydroperoxide in the gut, red wine supercharges our body’s ability to get rid of it by a factor of 3.

But red wine’s curative effects don’t just stop there.

Red wine also stimulates gastric acid breaking down proteins in your meat and allowing the stomach to empty itself faster.

It is also a probiotic which promotes healthy bacteria in the lining of your stomach.

What is it about red wine?

Well, it’s not the alcohol. You won’t get the same effect from white wine, beer, or distilled spirits.

You won’t even get the same effect from all red wines.

Red wine’s anti-cytotoxic effect comes from polyphenols. These are nutrients that form in grape skins when a grape vine comes under stress during the growing season.

Polyphenols (including resveratrol, which you’ve probably heard of) are linked to a number of health benefits – from cancer to heart health.

But polyphenol content varies considerably from red wine to red wine.

For the highest polyphenol content, look at altitude, poor soil, and extreme temperature fluctuations. For example, the longest-lived people in the world, on the island of Sardinia, drink a high polyphenol wine from grapes grown at high altitudes on exposed mountain sides under a blazing sun.

But the highest vines in the world come from South America, specifically from the extreme altitude malbec vineyards found on the desert plateaus of the Andes Mountains.

A wine can be “high altitude” with grapes grown at 3,000 feet.

Extreme altitude malbecs, however, brush up against 10,000 feet (almost twice the altitude of “mile high city” Denver).

At that altitude, the air is thin, the sun is bright, and water is scarce.

UV intensity is 80% higher than in Bordeaux.

It almost never rains.

And temperatures can fall 77 degrees at night.

It is said in the wine industry that vines enjoy a challenge. Here they cling to the edge of survival. The stress on the plant produces an explosion of polyphenols in the grape skin. These polyphenols then pass through to the wine.

You might remember, we recently lab tested several wines from that area against lower altitude Californian wines you commonly find on kitchen counters in the US.

Here’s what we found: the extreme altitude wines had up to 10 TIMES the amount of polyphenols (and 93% less sugar, too).

That’s ten times more polyphenols breaking down that meat for easier digestion, emptying your stomach faster (you’ll thank us the morning after), and, most importantly, shutting down those cytotoxic lipid hydroperoxides.

When you reach for a drink, remember the words of St. Paul: “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake.”

The higher in altitude, the better.

Happy Thanksgiving, 

The Wine Explorer

Bonner Private Wine Partnership