Many things pair well with a glass of red wine; a romantic dinner, a night in with gal pals, a sunset on the beach, and a bubble bath with a great novel. Thankfully, decades worth of studies and research suggests that moderate consumption of the age old drink has multiple benefits. In other words? You don’t need to wait for a special occasion to open bottle of cabernet or pinot noir. But how do the ingredients in that lovely labeled bottle make you a healthier human? Pour yourself a glass and read on!
*Note: According to the United States (U.S.) Dietary Guidelines 2015 to 2020 moderate drinking is defined as: “Up to one drink per day for women, and up to two drinks per day for men, and only by adults of legal drinking age.” For wine, one glass is equal to five ounces.
Red wine is loaded with antioxidants, the two most important being quercetin and resveratrol. Quercetin plays an important role in fighting free radical damage, which can help manage a number of inflammatory health conditions including; heart disease, autoimmune disease, arthritis, high cholesterol, cancer, and diabetes. Resveratrol also helps protect against free radical damage. It is a compound that some plants produce to fight fungi and bacteria, and to protect against (UV) irradiation. Resveratrol boosts health by supporting cellular and tissue health, promoting circulation, preventing premature aging, and protecting cognitive health. The powerful combo of these antioxidant rich ingredients enhance the benefits of red wine. But there’s more! Here are additional reasons why your body will thank you for pouring yourself a glass of red wine every now and then.
The active ingredients in red wine have cardioprotective properties, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Amazingly, the drink appears to dilate arteries, increase blood flow, and keep blood vessels flexible, which reduces the risk of clotting. Additionally, it appears to boost levels of HDL (“good” cholesterol) and helps prevent LDL, ( “bad cholesterol) from causing damage to the lining of arteries.
Recent evidence from animal studies suggests that resveratrol may be an effective chemopreventive agent in three stages of the cancer process: initiation, promotion, and progression. The same study found that the ingredient also reduced tumor incidences in different stages of cancer development. In particular, the compound is thought to slow the growth of breast, prostate, and colon cancer cells. Note that red wine is loaded with a ton of other antioxidants that seem to boost its cancer-fighting abilities.
Research suggests that moderate drinkers reduce their risk of osteoporosis – age-related bone thinning related to calcium loss. Research shows that women who drank in moderation had greater bone mineral density than nondrinkers or heavy drinkers. Bone mineral density is the measure physicians use to determine bone strength and resilience.
The important antioxidant resveratrol may also be the key to keeping your memory sharp. The compound has been shown to restrict the formation of beta-amyloid protein, an ingredient in the plaque found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.
The polyphenols in wine communicate with cells to regulate blood sugar and the development and storage of fat. The amount of polyphenols in a moderate glass of red wine appears to rival the blood sugar regulating activity of certain diabetes drugs. Why take prescription medication when you can enjoy a glass of red instead?
Although light to moderate drinking can be beneficial, chronic heavy drinking can damage your organs. Alcohol itself is a neurotoxin that can burden your liver and brain, so stick to the recommended dietary guidelines (one drink for women, two for men) as a precaution.