It is widely known that excessive alcohol consumption on a regular basis can be devastating to one’s overall health. But what about just a glass or two of red wine a day?
Good news! Research has found that low levels of alcohol consumption actually reduce inflammation in the brain, while helping the brain clear away toxins.
Who could have ever imagined that low-to-moderate alcohol consumption could be connected with a lower risk of dementia? This study could be the shining example of why and how those brain effects occur.
While this is exciting news for everyone, these findings are especially important for diabetics. Research has proven a link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s. So much so, that dementia is now being referred to by some as “Type III Diabetes.” When sugar levels in the blood are too high, nerve damage occurs as the sugary blood circulates throughout the body. This includes the brain, in which nerve damage leads to cognitive decline.
Imagine, red wine fighting illnesses like Alzheimer’s, as well as a host of other chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases some forms of cancer, even high blood sugar. Yes, red wine can help lower blood sugar levels!
This is believed to be due to resveratrol (a polyphenol with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.) Resveratrol helps to enhance the release of insulin into the blood stream, therefore keeping blood sugar down. You can thank grapes for the resveratrol present in wine. Resveratrol can also be found in other foods like blueberries, raspberries, and peanuts.
Have you ever heard someone say “Red wine is good for your heart?” Flavanoids present in red wine help fight cardiovascular diseases, and procyanidins help to keep blood vessels healthy. When consumed in moderation, red wine raises levels of good cholesterol and lowers risk of heart diseases and stroke. The resveratrol in red wine also reduces fat buildup in the arteries.
Science has also found that red wine drinkers are less likely to contract the common cold and the flu. It is thought that the antioxidant properties of red wine help to fight off these infections.
Studies have also found that red wine may help reduce risk of depression. Over 5,000 men and women were studied over a seven year period. Data was collected on how frequently they ate or drank, including alcohol consumption. Details on participants’ mental health were also collected.
It was found that men and women who drank 2-7 glasses of wine per week had a significantly lower risk of being diagnosed with depression. Other lifestyle factors were also taken into consideration, but a lower risk of depression was still connected with drinking wine.
All of these perks combine together and can result in a longer life span. That’s right – red wine can help you live longer! In fact, red wine drinkers have a lower mortality rate than vodka or whiskey drinkers.
To enjoy these benefits, however, it is very important to consume alcohol in moderation. There are serious risks associated with drinking too much of any alcohol, whether it’s beer, red wine or rye whiskey.
Drinking too much alcohol increases your risk of heart failure, high blood pressure, liver and pancreas diseases, certain types of cancer, stroke, violence, and suicide.
According to the Mayo Clinic, moderate drinking includes: up to one drink a day for women of all ages, up to one drink a day for men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. The difference between limits for men and women is because men usually weigh more, and their bodies contain more of the enzyme that metabolizes alcohol.
So what does “one drink” mean? One drink is defined as:
- 12 ounces of beer
- 5 ounces of wine
- 5 ounces of distilled spirits
Speaking with your doctor about your alcohol consumption is an important part of your overall health. Researchers do not recommend starting to drink alcohol if you don’t already do so. Be sure to make your healthcare team aware if you do consume alcohol, to ensure that there is no interference with your medications or health conditions.
Brain health, cardiovascular health, lower blood sugar, lower risk of depression… all from a glass or two of red wine in moderation. What a great way to toast… to your health!