Health trends come and go, so when it comes to wine you might still be confused--is wine healthy? While it seems a little too good to be true, scientific studies consistently suggest that drinking wine, red wine to be exact, in moderation, offers numerous health benefits. So go ahead, pour yourself a glass and enjoy the health benefits of wine.
The Health Benefits of Wine
It's hard to imagine that an alcoholic beverage could really be all that good for you. But, when you think about it, a glass of red wine is more or less a fist full of fermented dark berries. Those dark berries are bursting with antioxidants and nutrients. Not only that, but the fact that they are fermented makes them full of gut boosting bacteria. Sipping a glass of red wine while cooking dinner, out with your friends, or winding down from a long day at work can have multiple surprising health benefits.
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Dark grapes are naturally high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help to prevent cellular damage that occurs overtime from things like UV light, air pollution, and other environmental factors. In short, the antioxidants in a glass of red wine can actually help to protect your cells from damage and keep you looking and feeling better as you age. Cheers to that.
2. Decreases Inflammation
You've likely heard about anti-inflammatory this and that. That's because, over time, inflammation in the body causes a lot of wear and tear and can leave you at a higher risk for developing conditions like heart disease and certain cancers. Red grape skins contain an anti-inflammatory compound called resveratrol. Certain research links resveratrol in wine to lower overall inflammation in the body.
3. Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Not only does resveratrol seem to reduce inflammation in the body, it is also attributed to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, they found that resveratrol had an effect on human fat cells, inhibiting immature fat cells from developing and accumulating. This suggests that your daily glass of wine could actually help to keep your heart pumping steadily.
4. Improves Brain Function
That whole anti-inflammation bit extends into your brain as well, meaning, a small amount of red wine can have a lasting impact on your brain function overtime. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, red wine, in moderation, can actually help to clean out toxins from the brain, improving cognitive and motor function and even lessening your risk of dementia.
5. Decreases Risk of Certain Cancers
Certain studies suggest that moderate wine consumption can help to decrease your risk of cancer, including prostate, breast, and colon cancers. All the antioxidants in red grape skins can help to fight free radicals and inhibit the development of cancerous cells. On the flip side, excessive drinking can cause cancer, so moderation is the magic word here.
6. Lowers Blood Pressure
A glass of red wine after a stressful day may lower blood pressure in those with high blood pressure. As always, discuss with your doctor if winding down with a glass of wine is okay for you, especially if you are already on blood pressure medication.
7. Improves Gut Health
Red wine in particular, is linked with a more diverse gut flora. The fermented dark berries are chock-full of good bacteria for your system which can improve your microbiota. A glass here and there could boost your gut health; however, if you don't already drink wine and are looking to give your microbiome some TLC, its better to eat fermented vegetables and introduce a prebiotic into your routine rather than take up drinking.
8. Reduces Risk of Stroke
One analysis tested the effects of beer, wine, and spirits and found that of the three, wine may reduce your risk of stroke the most. The naturally found resveratrol in wine actually helps to protect brain nerves and blood vessels from damage. This helps to prevent a stroke in the first place and protects the brain from severe damage in the case of stroke.
9. Promotes Longevity
The Mediterranean diet and Blue Zones are always part of the conversation when it comes to living well into your 90's or even 100's. Between all the antioxidants, lowered inflammation, and increased brain health, its no wonder a glass of red wine plays a role in living a long and healthy life style. Along with a daily glass of vino, its not a bad idea to adopt some other signature parts of that lifestyle, like incorporating plenty of extra-virgin oil olive, fresh vegetables and sustainably caught seafood into your diet.
10. Natural Mood Improvement
Often times, a glass of wine goes hand in hand with a good social hour spent catching up with friends. Heading home from a Friday happy hour generally leaves you feeling pretty darn good going into the weekend. It turns out that a couple glasses of wine a week can actually have scientific mood boosting effects and lower depression in individuals who don't have a history of alcohol-related problems.
11. Promotes Eye Health
According to study published in the National Library of Medicine, resveratrol in wine may have properties that help to prevent eye issues that can lead to vision loss, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
12. Protects Teeth
Red wine has been found to have antimicrobial effects which combat multiple types of bad bacteria that tend to linger in the mouth. Your glass of pinot noir could help to reduce plaque-causing bacteria and keep your overall oral health squeaky clean.
Red Wine, Part of a Healthy Lifestyle
While a glass of wine every now and then is linked with numerous health benefits, it's not exactly a liquid elixer...it is alcohol after all. So if you're really looking to improve your health, it's better to look at the big picture and strive for something along the lines of that naturally holistic Mediterranean lifestyle. With this approach, you can enjoy your occasional glass of wine guilt free.