Across the US, there are 34 million Americans living with diabetes: over 10% of the population. In recent years, research has begun to suggest that alcohol can have a number of health benefits when consumed in moderation. Wine in particular has been shown to improve a number of health factors impacting diseases such as diabetes.
Wine and disease
Red wine contains a number of compounds with impressive health benefits. The main source of these health benefits lies in the antioxidants present in the skins of the grapes used to make wine. The process of fermentation required to produce red wine leaves much more of these antioxidants behind than in its white counterpart. Of these, the polyphenol resveratrol is the most impactful. Resveratrol has been shown to reduce instances of heart disease by reducing cholesterol and preventing blood clots. Alcohol itself may also provide some health benefits. This is because it raises the levels of good cholesterol in the blood while simultaneously lowering the levels of bad cholesterol. On top of this, it may help maintain and protect the cells lining your blood vessels. For diabetics, red wine has the added benefit of reducing post-meal blood sugar levels. Research has shown that long term, moderate consumption (one glass a night) can both improve glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes and reduce the risk of heart disease.
The elevated blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can lead to nerve damage throughout the body. For diabetics, nerves in the legs and feet are at particular risk, and as a result, certain preventative and mitigative measures should be taken. These include proper footwear and hygiene as well as exercise. Red wine acts in a number of ways to aid this effort, and its ability to reduce post-meal blood sugar levels and improve glycemic control may help slow the progression of this neuropathy. Based on this research, one glass of red wine a night may show significant health benefits over a period of years for diabetics.
Researchers and medical professionals are hesitant to recommend any form of alcohol because of the potential negative impacts excessive consumption and addiction can have. While the moderate consumption of alcohol can have a number of health benefits, taken to a harmful level, it can lead to the development of a number of diseases and mental health problems, including cancer, depression, and even an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, excessive consumption can also increase the risk of heart disease rather than reduce it. This is particularly important to keep in mind, as in recent months, the sales of alcoholic beverages have surged, leading many experts to worry about the health implications excessive drinking may be causing for millions.
Red wine has long been thought to contain compounds beneficial to a healthy heart. Recent research seems to confirm this, and while the consumption of most alcohols is associated with reduced blood sugar and cholesterol, the antioxidants present in red wine provide additional benefits in the increase of good cholesterol and protection from clotting. Moderation is key, however, and these benefits are negated or reversed with excessive consumption.