In recent years, research has found that drinking red wine has several potential health benefits.
Is that the best news you’ve heard so far today? While most enjoy a glass while socializing or to de-stress, red wine could now be a tool to help improve your health!
For diabetics, the most obvious benefit is the regulation of blood sugar. 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?” Another benefit of resveratrol is the reduction of fat buildup in the arteries. Flavanoids, also 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.
Resveratrol also prevents the growth of fat cells, and slows the development of new fat cells. In conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise, red wine can help moderate body weight and body fat percentage.
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.
Skin and teeth can also benefit from red wine. Red wine hardens tooth enamel and prevents tooth decay by controlling the growth of bacteria. The antioxidants in red wine can help slow the aging of skin along with reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
The polyphenols in red wine can help prevent the development of chronic diseases, and even help you live longer. Red wine drinkers have a lower mortality rate than vodka or whiskey drinkers. Red wine can also help lengthen the life span by fighting illnesses like Alzheimer’s.
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 ito consideration, but a lower risk of depression was still connected with drinking wine.
Now that we’ve revealed some of the health benefits of red wine, let’s discuss moderation. There are 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.
Avoid alcohol completely if you have heart failure or a weak heart, are pregnant or nursing, have a liver or pancreas disease, take certain medications or a daily aspirin, or if you are pregnant or nursing.
Researchers do not recommend starting to drink alcohol if you don’t already do so. If you already drink red wine, do so in moderation.
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
- 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits
Speaking with your doctor about your alcohol consumption is an important part of your overall health. 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.
If you choose to enjoy a glass of red wine tonight, check out this link to a handy food and wine pairing guide.
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