Health Benefits of Drinking Red Wine
Nothing says “celebration” like a bottle of wine. Indulgent and, red wine has always been the perfect party beverage. But did you know that red wine isn’t just an enjoyable beverage for times you want to let loose? Moderate red wine consumption can actually be a safe and healthy part of your everyday life.
Savoring a few drinks a week can be incredibly good for you — red wine can do everything from lowering your cholesterol to fighting cancer to giving you luscious, healthy hair. Let’s take a look at many of the reasons why drinking a glass of red wine can be the healthiest and the most enjoyable thing you do all day.
Antioxidants in Red Wine
If you’ve payed attention to recent health trends, you’ve probably heard about antioxidants and their role in combating cancer, heart disease, and other chronic conditions by neutralizing free radicals in your body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that enter our cells either through environmental toxins such as cigarette smoke, or as a natural byproduct of turning food into energy.
By stealing electrons from other molecules, they are capable of wreaking havoc on your cells and genetic material. Luckily, nature has given us a powerful way of keeping our bodies free of these dangerous molecules and cleaning up some of the damage they cause. Researchers in the early 1990s discovered substances in many fruits and vegetables with antioxidant properties capable of neutralizing free radicals before they can cause damage.
Antioxidants’ seemingly magical ability to fight so many modern ailments has skyrocketed the popularity of exotic fruits like pomegranates and acai berries. But you don’t need to seek out the latest “superfood” to enjoy the benefits of antioxidants! In fact, one of the best sources of antioxidants is mankind’s most ancient beverage.
A six-ounce glass of red wine
packs in more antioxidants than a cup of blueberries, a six ounce glass of pomegranate juice, a teaspoon of cinnamon, two six-ounce glasses of acai juice or five cups of cooked tomatoes. The antioxidants found in red wine come from the skins and pips of winemaking grapes, and sometimes also from the oak barrels in which the wine is aged. To maximize the antioxidant-rich health benefits of your wine, choose a full-bodied oakey red wine, such as a Merlot.
Is Red Wine a Cancer Fighter?
Cancer patients shouldn’t forgo chemotherapy for a glass of Cabernet
, but for those of us trying to avoid a cancer diagnosis, a daily glass of red could be a healthy habit. Antioxidants have incredible cancer-fighting qualities due to their ability to combat the genetic damage that can lead to tumors. Researchers point in particular to cancer-fighting resveratrol and guercetinin — two compounds that can not only prevent tumors, but also halt the development of proteins that cancer cells need to multiply.
Through these two mechanisms, moderate red wine consumption has been shown prevent lung cancer, lower the risk of breast cancer and slow the growth of existing cancers. With cancer rates on the rise in our increasingly toxin-free world, we’re excited about any way we can stop cancer before it happens. And a cancer-fighter as enjoyable as red wine
? We’ll drink to that.
Red Wine Good For Weight Loss?
Have you ever wondered why French women don’t get fat? We’ve always been jealous of those mademoiselles across the pond who dine on eclairs and fois gras without sacrificing their slim figures. Conventional wisdom says that the French practice of slowing down and savoring meals helps them feel satiated and avoid snacking later.
And with fewer calories in wine than in equivalent servings of beer or cocktails, it’s a little indulgence with big payoffs. Tonight, try dining French-style: put away your phone and pour a glass of Shiraz, and even leftovers will feel like an occasion. Practice eating and drinking mindfully, and you won’t catch yourself later with a hand in the potato chip bag.
But it’s not only French dining traditions that allow them to stay slim on a diet full of bread and butter. New research suggests that the French practice of drinking red wine can have waist-trimming benefits beyond preventing overeating. Recent studies at Purdue University
show that resveratol and piceatannol, two compounds present in red wine, can block the maturation of early stage fat cells. By keeping these cells in an immature state, red wine can stop the body from accumulating excess fat. The next time you’re looking for something sweet, treat yourself to a glass of full-bodied vino, and toast to a slimmer physique.
Red Wine Good For Heart Health?
Not only do the French maintain trim figures, but they also enjoy half the risk of heart disease as the average American in spite of their rich diets. This so-called “French Paradox” was a mystery until researchers stumbled upon the heart-healthy benefits of red wine. Regular red wine consumption has been shown to strengthen your body’s defense against heart disease by boosting your “good” HDL cholesterol, immunizing your “bad” LDL cholesterol against free radical attacks, decreasing inflammation and thinning your blood.
British heart expert Dr. Roger Corder tells us that we can thank chemicals called procyanidins that are present in grape skins for wine’s heart-healthy qualities. In his research, he points to residents of the Gers region of southwest France
who drink especially procyanidin-rich wine from the Tannat grape and have double the population of people aged 90 years or older.
He cites their resiliency against heart disease as a key to their longevity, claiming wine consumption as the probable cause of their healthy hearts. To experience these benefits for yourself, Dr. Corder recommends dark-colored and full-flavored wines including Madiran, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Barolo.
Is Drinking Red Wine Good For Your Immune System?
Do you always seem to catch whatever bug is being passed around the office? Does flu season have you stocking up on tissues and hand sanitizer? Red wine not only helps us fight chronic conditions, but it can also boost our immune systems to protect against acute illnesses like influenza and the common cold.
Antioxidant polyphenols in red wine prevent the multiplication of viruses once they’re in your system, and they can also prevent these viruses from invading your body at all. A Spanish study shows that wine drinkers who consume two or more glasses of red every day have a 44% lower incidence of colds
than non-drinkers. Pour yourself a glass of Burgundy and savor to good health, no matter the season.
Can Drinking Red Wine Help Prolong Your Life?
Did you know that wine can not only improve your life, but also help you live longer? Red wine is enjoyed in many parts of the world where people lead especially long and healthy lives, such as the legendary Sardinia, Italy. A study published by the Journal of Gerontology
showed that over a 29-year period, Finnish wine drinkers enjoyed a 34 percent lower mortality rate than Finns who preferred beer or spirits.
Wine drinkers’ elongated life spans are likely related to many of red wine’s other benefits, such as its protections against cancer and heart disease. But wine also has some special anti-aging properties that rejuvenate our bodies on a cellular level. Resveratrol — the same chemical in wine that protects us against obesity — has also been shown by researchers at Harvard Medical School to stimulate the so-called “longevity gene” SIRT1
that’s key to boosting overall health and wellness.
While resveratol’s role in human aging is not yet completely understood, some exciting studies conducted on worms show resveratol increasing lifespan by up to 60 percent. We imagine if we ever found the famed “fountain of youth,” it might flow with wine — not water.
Does Red Wine Help With Memory Loss?
Fortunately, red wine doesn’t merely help us live longer, but it also helps keep our brains healthy as we age. Researchers at Texas A&M
have found found promising results in studies on aging rats examining the effects of resveratrol on the hippocampus: the part of the brain responsible for mood, memory and learning.
Another study concluded that brain function declines less quickly in moderate drinkers than in non-drinkers as they age.
These results provide promising evidence that moderate red wine consumption could be a healthy habit for adults middle aged and older who want to maintain mental sharpness as they age.
Is Red Wine Good For Strong Bones?
Are you worried about falls and fractures when you age? If you’re a post-menopausal woman, you probably know a lot about preventing osteoporosis, the degeneration of bones that happens most often during aging. However, we should all be trying to reduce our risk of osteoporosis whatever our age or gender.
While women have a higher total risk of developing osteoporosis, men are significantly more likely to die following an osteoporotic fracture. And young people are uniquely able to build calcium-rich bones that can help them stay strong long-term. Luckily, moderate red wine consumption has been shown to help us maintain bone density as we age. While milk will always be the only beverage we pour over our cereal, we like switching things up by enjoying a glass of wine as we munch on cookies.
And red wine’s osteoporosis-preventing qualities help keep our teeth strong as well. Proanthocyanidins in red wine can also prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth, preventing tooth decay, cavities and gingivitis — just one of the many reasons we smile while drinking red wine! Of course, deep red wine has a reputation for staining. Brushing your teeth after meals and making regular cleaning appointments can help you keep your pearly whites pearly white. For added protection, many dentists recommend drinking healthy pigmented beverages like red wine and fruit juices through a straw.
Is Red Wine Good for Diabetes?
You may be surprised to learn that a beverage like red wine that contains natural fruit sugars can help prevent Type 2 diabetes. But when it comes to diabetes risk, the way your body absorbs sugars can often be more important than the mere quantity of sugars. And researchers have found that certain compounds in red wines can eliminate the spike in blood sugar that can occur after meals by blocking an enzyme essential to absorbing glucose in the small intestine.
Slowing down the body’s absorption of sugars can cut down on diabetes risks and help you avoid hunger spikes so you can stay satisfied until your next meal. If you’re worried about a family history of type 2 diabetes, sipping a glass of Syrah with your meal could be the most enjoyable part of your diabetes-prevention strategy.
Does Red Wine Have Benefits For Skin and Hair?
Who hasn’t splurged on products promising #nofilter naturally radiant skin? But the perfect product might actually be in your kitchen, not your bathroom. A daily dose of red wine can keep your skin clear and glowing — and no, we’re not just talking about that rosy flush that comes after a few glasses of vino!
Antioxidants in wine can counteract sun damage and prevent your skin from aging. Additionally, dermatologists have found that antioxidants in wine can slow the growth of acne and boost the anti-microbial effects of benzoyl peroxide, an active ingredient in many over-the-counter acne treatments. It’s no wonder red wine facials have become a popular treatment at many high-end salons.
Red wine can also have similar beauty-boosting effects on your hair. Red wine’s antioxidants can inhibit inflammation and cell death to help you maintain your thick, healthy mane. Wine also stimulates blood flow to the scalp, promoting hair growth and keeping dandruff and itchiness at bay. So drink up, you beautiful creature!
Enjoying Your Wine in Moderation
Of course, the key to accessing the health benefits of red wine is moderation
. As with any other alcoholic beverage, consuming too much wine can have serious consequences for your physical and mental health. To enjoy the health benefits of red wine, most experts recommend that men consume up to two glasses of wine on most days, and that women restrict themselves to one.
Luckily, wine is a beverage that’s meant to be savored, not chugged. In cultures where wine is consumed, the ritual of sharing a bottle with friends and family is almost as important as the beverage itself. Whether you share your glass with your besties, your spouse, or a good book and a steamy bath, slowing down and sipping a glass of Chianti or a Pinot can be the best — and healthiest — part of your day.
So go ahead: uncork that bottle, pour yourself an indulgent, guilt-free glass of red, and toast to the health benefits of red wine. Cheers!