Recent research has found that drinking a glass of red wine with dinner increases levels of HDL (”good”) cholesterol. What's more, these results were found in individuals with type II diabetes. Sound too good to be true? Believe it or not, the health benefits of red wine don’t end with better cholesterol levels.
When consumed in moderation, red wine also lowers risk of heart disease and stroke. Not to mention reduced risk for Alzheimer’s dementia, depression, and even lower blood sugar!
The majority of the health benefits of red wine are due to resveratrol (a polyphenol with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.) Resveratrol enhances the release of insulin into the blood stream. This keeps blood sugar more stable. Resveratrol also reduces fat buildup in the arteries. The flavanoids present in red wine fight cardiovascular diseases. The wine's procyanidins help keep blood vessels healthy, including those in the brain.
Researchers observed that low levels of alcohol consumption actually reduce inflammation in the brain, while helping the brain clear away toxins. 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 helping to fight illnesses like Alzheimer’s!
If that isn’t enough to boost your mood, research has also 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.
Researchers do not recommend starting to drink alcohol if you don’t already do so. 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. 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 naturally contain more of the enzyme that metabolizes alcohol.
One serving of red wine totals five ounces. Most of us will easily pour double that amount without even realizing it. Being mindful of your pour will ensure that you are getting all of the positive benefits red wine has to offer without overdoing it.
Also be sure to speak with your doctor about your alcohol consumption. This 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.
A diabetes diagnosis means bidding farewell to more than a few things. If wine was one of them, rejoice! Red wine can now return to its rightful place – in your glass. Now raise that glass in a toast to the health benefits of red wine… and enjoy!