Wine, especially red wine, has been extensively studied. Research suggests that moderat consumption may help you live longer, protect you against some cancers, enhance your heart health, and improve your mental health.
Wine was used to treat health conditions centuries ago. Interestingly, medieval monasteries were assured that their monks lived longer than the population in part because of their regular, moderate consumption of wine, and in recent years, science has indicated that this belief could be true.
Before you start drastically increasing your wine consumption, I would ask that you temper your intake, as the health benefits may only apply to moderate drinking. The United States Dietary Guidelines 2015 – 2020 define “moderate” as one drink for women, and two for men per day, only at the legal drinking age. Whereas some people should not drink at all.
Some facts on the potential benefits of Red Wine
- Red wine is a rich source of resveratrol, which could be why it offers various health benefits.
- Resveratrol may help in promoting heart health, protect from some cancers, and prevent certain types of vision loss.
- Grapes and berries are better than red wine as a resveratrol source, so consuming these are likely to be healthier than drinking wine to reap the benefits.
- If you would prefer to drink, red wine is way better than many other alcoholic beverages.
The Benefits of Red Wine
1. Boosts cardiovascular health and gut microbiome
Resveratrol in red wine may improve your heart health in many ways. Researchers suggested recently in 2016 that it could decrease your risk of heart disease by the way it affects your gut microbiome.
2. Increase blood omega-3 fatty acids
A drink with low amounts of alcohol, especially red wine, is believed to increase omega 3 fatty acids in your plasma and red blood cells.
Omega 3 fatty acids are thought to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties and protect against heart disease.
In a study consisting of 1,604 adult participants, researchers found that regular, modest wine drinking was associated with higher omega 3 fatty acids in the blood.
3. Helps people with Type-2 diabetes
A study showed that a glass of red wine can moderately reduce cardiometabolic risk in Type-2 diabetics. It is believed that the ethanol in wine plays a significant role in the metabolism of glucose, and that the nonalcoholic ingredients may also serve a similar function. More research is needed to confirm these findings.
But if you have diabetes, you are advised to ask your doctor before consuming any amounts of alcohol.
4. Prevents some cancers
However, many experts say that alcohol is heavily linked to a variety of cancers, and any benefit from resveratrol is expected to be outweighed by the adverse effects of alcohol.
5. Maintains blood pressure and blood vessels
Scientists from the United Kingdom discovered that procyanidins found in red wine can keep your blood vessels healthy. To reap the most benefit, traditional production methods are better as they produce higher levels of procyanidins in the wine.
Many people also find alcoholic drinks relaxing. But a 2012 study indicated that nonalcoholic red wine can also reduce blood pressure, which could be a healthier option for you.
6. Reduces brain damage post-stroke
Researchers from John Hopkins University School of Medicine suggest that resveratrol may protect your brain from stroke damage.
Studies on mice showed that resveratrol increased heme oxygenase levels, an enzyme that protects nerve cells from damage. In case of a stroke, the brain gets ready to protect itself because of the high levels of this enzyme.
Though, it is unclear whether the health benefits are due to resveratrol, or whether alcohol is needed to concentrate the compound in the beverage.
7. Prevents the loss of vision
Red wine may help prevent a loss of vision caused by blood vessel growth in the eye because of its ingredient resveratrol.
Scientists believe that red wine could also help people with vision problems due to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, and other causes of retinal detachment.
8. Prevents dementia
They studied data from 19 nations and found that moderate red wine drinkers in 14 countries were statistically at a lower risk of dementia.
The investigators explained that resveratrol is the compound behind the benefit. It lessens the stickiness of blood platelets and helps blood vessels remain open and flexible, which promotes a healthy supply of blood to our brain.
9. Reduces the risk of depression
The study involved 5,500 men and women in the age group 55-80 years over 7 years, it revealed that people who drank two to seven glasses of wine every week had lower chances of being diagnosed with depression even when the lifestyle factors were considered.
10. Protects from severe sunburn
Spanish scientists say that wine and grape derivatives help protect the skin from UV damage from the sun.
They found that when UV rays come in contact with human skin, they activate reactive oxygen species (ROS) that oxidize fats, DNA and other big molecules. These chemically modified molecules stimulate other enzymes that harm our skin cells.
Wine and grapes have flavonoids, which inhibit the formation of these reactive species in the skin when exposed to the sun.
But the researchers suggest that it’s better to incorporate grapes and grape derivatives in place of wine to get protection from the sun.
11. Prevents liver disease
Moderate consumption may reduce your risk of developing a nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) by half if you’re at risk, compared to never drinking wine.
The researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine note that only a modest consumption can bring benefits, and a maximum of one glass of wine should be suitable for people at risk of coronary heart disease and NAFLD. The finding, however, is controversial.
If you regularly and moderately drink liquor or beer, you have a four-times higher risk of developing liver disease than only drinking red wine.
Most importantly, if you already have hepatitis or any other liver disease, you should avoid alcohol entirely.
12. Prevents dental cavities
A Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (ACS) study suggests that red wine helps get rid of bacteria in the teeth, which may help prevent cavities.
13. Treats acne
Research suggests that resveratrol could treat acne due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. Scientists suggest that applying it in combination with benzoyl peroxide directly to the skin can maximize antibacterial activity.
However, there’s no evidence that red wine could have the same effect.
Consider the health risks of alcohol consumption
Some or many health benefits appear to be associated with the wine, but the excess of any kind of alcoholic drink can increase the risk of:
- Fatty liver
- Mental health problems
- Several Cancers
- Alcoholic hepatitis
Many chronic conditions can result as a result of excessive alcohol consumption.