Health Benefits Of Wine
“Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages’ – says the late Louis Pasteur, biologist, microbiologist, and chemist. Louis wasn’t making excuses to down a perfectly aged glass of vino when he made this statement. Wine really does have many health advantages, when we drink it in moderation, of course. When we sip on a fine blend, we can feel ourselves instantly unwind and relax as the delectable taste of aged grapes settles on our taste buds. What some of us don’t realize, however, is that this historic beverage is working wonders on our bodies as a whole and has more than just a few amazing benefits for our health and well-being.
Wine, especially red wine, has been studied by many researchers with much interest. Most results come to the same conclusion; that the grape extract does, in fact, have a positive impact on a body’s constitution. It’s very important that you remember, however, that any health advantages only apply to moderate drinking. America’s Dietary Guidelines 2015 to 2020 define moderate drinking as follows: one glass of wine per day for women, and up to two glasses per day for men – this applies to adults over the legal drinking age. So take the bottle of wine from your wine preservation system and read on.
Here’s a detailed list of these benefits in no particular order:
1. Wine Reduces Stress
Opening a bottle of wine (with an electric wine bottle opener) at the end of a long and stressful working day is certainly one way to settle our nerves and shake off the stress we collected along the way. Think of it as a message for the brain.
The question, however, is why does wine make us feel relaxed and distressed? The answer can be found in the study confirmed by many scientists who have researched the subject. This study pays special attention to a compound found in wine called “resveratrol”. Resveratrol is known to stimulate a “stress response” gene found in our DNA – this stimulation puts our DNA into the stress-fighting mode and works on lower levels of depression, anxiety and even perceived stress.
2. It’s Good For Your Heart
There’s a reason why wine connoisseurs have “grape” expectations for the beverage. This wholesome drink has proved to be useful in preventing the onset of heart disease. These findings are mostly linked to red wine since it contains more tannins. Tannins are made up of procyanidins which are phenols that neutralize free radicals and have proved to be effective in preventing cardiovascular disease.
According to WebMD, wine also helps to enhance the health of blood vessel cells, thus improving the flow of blood. Good blood flow helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and other heart-related ailments.
3. It Lowers The Risk Of Cancer
Not that we need another excuse to drink wine, but in the battle against cancer, the drink might just be on your side. Some research shows that the risk of cancer can be reduced by sipping on a glass of your favorite wine, especially dark red blends.
We can once again refer to phenolic compounds in this regard. These compounds combat nasty free radicals that allow cancer to thrive. A recent study by Harvard Medical School provides the following interesting findings:
“Men who drink an average of four to seven glasses of red wine per week are only 52% as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer as those who do not drink red wine. Also, red wine appears particularly protective against advanced or aggressive cancers.”
4. Encourages Longevity
If living a long and healthy life is one of your ambitions, then it’s once again time to pull out that bottle of cabernet sauvignon. The combination of alcohol and grapes definitely has a magical effect on the body…or some simply call it science.
The “magic” that we refer to is actually resveratrol. Resveratrol is a type of stilbenoid, a type of natural phenol, and a phytoalexin. We won’t go into detail about what the big scientific words mean, but in essence, these components found in resveratrol work to activate a protein that acts as an anti-aging agent and helps us to look good and feel good for longer. If you want to reduce the onset of wrinkles and maintain a youthful feeling, then a glass of vino with your dinner probably works better than any anti-aging cream on the market.
5. It’s Loaded With Anti-Oxidants
Anti-oxidants are important because they attack nasty free radicals. Free radicals are the toxic by-products of oxygen metabolism and can cause a lot of damage to our body’s cells and tissue. These free radicals are the guilty party behind many ailments and diseases, including cancer.
Drinking a glass of wine every day can significantly boost your antioxidant intake and can help to provide added protection for the body against heart problems, eye problems, and mood disorders. Anti-oxidants are also great for avoiding memory loss and other immune system disorders.
6. Wine Puts A Twinkle In Your Eye
Like we mentioned in point 5 above, the fermented grapes that make up a delicious glass of wine are loaded with anti-oxidants which may have health benefits for our bodies, including our eyes. Wine, red wine, in particular, can help to prevent deterioration of eye muscles, especially deterioration that is age-related. It does this by prohibiting the increase of blood vessels in our eyes, which is a good thing because if blood vessels continue to grow, they could possibly cause macular degeneration or loss of eyesight altogether.
So, while heavy drinking is associated with poor eyesight, the odd Merlot could be more beneficial than complete abstinence. Just saying.
7. Wine Keeps Your Sanity In Check
While many of us have lost our sanity years ago, for those who are still in their right mind, there’s a way you can keep your brain in good working order. Of course, going on a binge and overdoing it on the alcohol will have the complete opposite effect, but if you drink modest amounts of wine on a daily or weekly basis, you could actually be feeding your brain, instead of frying it.
The anti-oxidants in red wine help to reduce the stickiness of blood platelets and by doing so they keep blood vessels open and flexible. This ensures that there is always a good flow of blood to the brain and reduces the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Just some food for thought!
8. It Works On Your Smile
Apart from triggering endorphins that almost instantly put a smile on our faces, wine also has a brilliant way of keeping our smile looking good. Red wine and grape seed extracts work at removing certain bacteria from our teeth.
Bacteria damage tooth enamel and over time it can cause dental diseases like cavities and gingivitis, to name but a few. A glass of wine has the potential to stop these dangerous bacteria in their tracks and promotes dental health as a result.
Keep in mind, however, that red wine can cause teeth to stain, so regular brushing and flossing is also recommended. You could always throw in a tooth whitening treatment for good measure!
9. It Helps To Decrease The Risks Of Diabetes
Living with diabetes is no walk around the park. The awesome news is that while some cravings are just a no go, a daily glass of wine could help to improve one’s sensitivity to insulin. This is a good thing because insulin resistance is a very critical factor contributing to the risk of type 2 diabetes. Improving sensitivity to insulin will encourage our bodies to take up insulin properly.
Please do remember, however, that drinking alcohol can also cause your blood sugar to either rise or fall. We suggest you seek advice from your doctor with regards to drinking and diabetes if you are concerned.
10. Wine Lowers Cholesterol
Those procyanidins found in red wine that promote a healthy heart can also work at decreasing cholesterol levels! Yup, resveratrol lowers levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and at the same time, it works its “magic” at increasing HDL (good cholesterol). So, if you really are set on avoiding heart disease, a moderate intake of wine could be your lifesaver!
This also means that red wine can lower blood pressure which is affected by cholesterol levels. So, while water is the ultimate form of rehydration, a glass of wine should be a close runner up.
Drink your wine, live life to the fullest and enjoy the fruity taste of grapes in all their glory – all in moderation, please.
- Appendix 9. Alcohol – Dietary Guidelines
- Feeling Stressed? Research Suggests Having a Glass of Wine (You’re Welcome) – Glamour
- Attention men: the benefits of red wine, from the Harvard Men’s Health Watch – Harvard Health Publishing