Civilizations have been drinking wine since ancient times, with the first known evidence of wine dating back to the country of Georgia, around 6000 BC. While the intoxicating effects of drinking wine are well documented, it’s only recently that we have begun to discover the many health benefits that moderate wine consumption can offer us, particularly red wine.
The following is a list of benefits that moderate red wine consumption can provide.
1) Improves heart function
Red wine contains antioxidants which are capable of strengthening the amount of good cholesterol in the body. Good cholesterol scours the bloodstream for low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) and removes it, which in turn helps to reduce the risk of developing heart disease. The polyphenols that exist in red wine, particularly resveratrol, help to fortify the exterior of the heart’s blood vessels.
Resveratrol has been shown to possess a number of positive qualities, such as lessening the risk of developing blood disorders and thwarting the growth of unwanted fats within the body. Additional research has indicated that red wine can slow the deterioration of heart performance that occurs naturally as the human body ages.
2) Reduces cholesterol
As well as boosting the amount of good cholesterol in the body, according to studies conducted by scientists from the King's College London, the resveratrol contained within red wine also has the ability to reduce the quantity of bad cholesterol. Research has shown that the consumption of a single glass of red wine each day, taken for an entire month, can enhance the presence of good cholesterol in the body by over fifteen percent, while at the same time diminishing the presence of a glycoprotein complex, known as fibrinogen by up to fifteen percent.
3) Combats the effects of diabetes
Studies by the American Diabetes Association, a modest amount of red wine is able to decrease blood sugar levels for up to 24 hours, reducing the likelihood of heart illnesses in those who have type 2 diabetes. Additionally, it was reported that those who drank wine a few times a week, were at around thirty percent less risk of developing the disease, when compared to those who drank fewer than once per week or no red wine at all.
Studies have indicated that the rapid rise in blood sugar levels evident after a person has eaten, is one of the leading causes of inflammation, which itself can prompt the onset of diabetes. The consumption of red wine at dinner time, can reduce blood sugar levels by up to thirty percent.
4) Resists the effects of cancer
According to research conducted by scientists at University of Rochester Medical Center, there is evidence to support the claim that the polyphenol, resveratrol is not only able to eliminate cancerous cells in patients suffering from pancreatic cancer, it can also help to safeguard healthy cells against the damaging effects of chemotherapy. Research has shown that patients who consume red wine once a week or more, are at a reduced likelihood of developing bowel cancer, when compared to those who either don’t drink alcohol or those who consume other types of alcohol.
As well as this, it has been discovered that resveratrol is able to make cancerous cells less resilient, by blocking the essential proteins that normally act as a protective shield for the cells against chemo.
As well as pancreatic cancer, red wine is also able to hinder the growth of cancerous cells within the colon region. Research has also indicated that red wine can help prevent or combat the effects of prostate and other rapidly destructive cancers.
5) Stifles the effects of obesity
Analysis from a team of researchers at Oregon State University has shown that resveratrol is capable of transforming harmful white fats into beneficial beige fat that extinguishes lipids, stabilizing the body and protecting it against obesity and digestive issues. While this is indeed encouraging news for those out there who are looking to either lose weight or stave off the threat of weight gain, it is important to note that not all red wines contain a suitably high resveratrol content to be beneficial, and its best to find out directly from the wine company, if you do intend to supplement your dietary efforts with red wine.
6) Reduces likelihood of developing high blood pressure
A research journal published in Circulation Research, has indicated that alcohol-free red wine helps to shield the body from damage to vital arteries, subsequently reducing blood pressure. Red wine also lowers blood pressure by reducing stress levels. Keeping blood pressure at healthier levels in turn reduces the risk of stroke, but it’s important to note that individuals must restrict themselves to light consumption, as anything more than this could actually raise the blood pressure, increasing the risk of stroke.
As well as this, alcohol-free red wine can strengthen the prevalence of nitric oxide in the bloodstream. A higher content in the blood helps to calm and loosen the inner and outer surfaces of blood vessels, promoting enhanced function.
7) Protects the body from age-related illnesses
The factor that influences neurodegeneration more than any other is the aging process. Curiously, studies have shown that genetics only play a minor role in determining the lifespan of an individual. A person’s physical and mental lifespan is primarily determined by the quality of their nutrition. According to a research journal published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, the polyphenols present in red wine such as resveratrol, are able to stave off the onset of age-related illnesses, such as neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, by helping to alleviate oxidative stress (a condition caused by an overabundance of free radicals, that damages the proteins, DNA and tissue within the body).
8) Alleviates stress
The resveratrol present in red wine helps to energize specific proteins which trigger genes that heal and revitalize DNA, subdue tumors and invigorate genes that help keep an individual healthy. All of this ultimately results in a more relaxed sensation, lowering stress levels, according to a scientific study conducted by researchers at Xuzhou Medical University in China. The timing of red wine consumption is important, and drinking it with dinner is ideal, as it can help relax the mind in time to go to bed.
9) Strengthens bones
Research from Aarhus University in Denmark, has shown that the consumption of resveratrol contained within red wine is able to strengthen the bones of the spinal column, for males suffering from metabolic disorders. Resveratrol achieves this by triggering the production of bone minerals. This greater bone density also results in a reduced risk of debilitating bone diseases such as osteoporosis. Light or moderate red wine consumption can be as effective as prescription medication in safeguarding elderly females from weakening bones.
10) Lessens the risk of visual impairment
Resveratrol and other compounds present in red wine that inhibit oxidation, have been shown to reduce the risk of developing visual impairments later in life. Additional studies carried out by scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, have revealed that resveratrol can hinder the proliferation of veins, arteries and capillaries within the eye. As well as this, it also helps to protect against other degenerative conditions that result in poor vision and ultimately, blindness.
11) Improves liver function
The results of a study pulished online at American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, has shown that drinking a light to moderate amount of red wine has the potential to reduce the chances of developing liver related diseases. This is in contrast to the consumption of other alcoholic spirits, where the danger of developing liver disease can be upwards of several times greater.
12) Combats the effects of depression and improves sleep quality
According to studies conducted by medical doctor and professor at University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ying Xu, resveratrol may prove to be an effective option to medication for treating those with depression or anxiety. Resveratrol achieves this by regulating the enzyme that generates stress, thereby influencing our sensory mechanisms in a helpful way. Resveratrol has also demonstrated an ability to protect the neuronal structure of the brain, through its inhibition of the PDE4 enzyme.
Red wine can help to cool the body temperature and hasten the emission of particular hormones that ultimately help the body to fall asleep. While drinking the wine directly before going to bed can help a person fall asleep sooner, it can also interrupt sleep, causing them to awaken within a matter of hours and making it harder for them to return to sleep again. For this reason, it is better to drink wine some time before going to bed, such as at dinner time.
13) Improves pulmonary function
There is evidence to suggest that resveratrol may help reduce or obstruct the inflammatory process concerned with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (CPOD). Inflammation is central to COPD and those suffering from the disease have a greater number of cells known as macrophages. These cells cause inflammation of the lungs and emit potent chemicals known as interleukins, which trigger the procreation of other cells that are responsible for lung decay.
In a test performed on patients who smoked cigarettes and patients afflicted with COPD, it was discovered that resveratrol reduced the propagation of interleukins by more than 50%. Analysts have since said that resveratrol is so successful at lowering inflammatory indicators in lab tests that it may eventually form the essence of a revolutionary new treatment for COPD.
14) Protects your teeth
Research by the American Chemical Society has indicated that polyphenols contained within red wine have the ability to reduce the tendency of bad bacteria to accumulate on teeth. A build-up of this bacteria leads to plaque, tooth decay and gum disease. The polyphenols were able to thwart the formation of contagious biofilms on teeth and gums, allowing the harmful bacteria to simply be wiped away. With further testing, the researchers have admitted that polyphenols and oral probiotics may form an effective treatment solution for tooth and gum diseases that are caused by germs.
15) Enhances Omega-3 Levels
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are primarily obtained from fish, have been proven to help safeguard the body against heart disease and stroke. A European study performed by IMMIDIET, concluded that wine was more effective at strengthening omega-3 levels than any other alcohol. It was shown that wine was able to promote the creation of increased omega-3 in both plasma and red blood cells. It’s believed that the polyphenols present in red wine are once again to thank for these beneficial qualities.
16) Fortifies the Immune System
According to studies performed by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, components of red wine, including resveratrol and pure ethanol, can fortify the immune system, helping patients to more effectively fend off infections. The test involved the inoculation of monkeys with a smallpox vaccine and analyzing each individual’s response through the measure of their antibody numbers.
Once they’d vaccinated them, the monkeys were given access to an alcoholic substance containing 4% ethanol and were allowed to drink as much as they desired. Some chose to drink a little, while others consumed more liberal amounts. The third test group consisted of monkeys who were only allowed sugared water. 7 months later, the same monkeys were inoculated once more, with their antibody counts tallied.
The results clearly demonstrated that the test subjects who drank a moderate amount of the substance produced the greatest number of antibodies. Those who drank the sugared water also showed an improvement, albeit, not as much as the moderate ethanol drinkers, while those who drank large amounts of the ethanol solution showed least improvement.
17) Makes the skin appear younger and helps to combat acne
The antioxidants present in red wine have qualities that make them particularly valuable, where aging of the skin is concerned, reducing the onset of aging by rebuilding the collagen and pliable fibers of the skin. Along with this, red wine contains other revitalizing ingredients that sanitize skin pores, helping to fight the effects of acne, while lowering the risk of recurrence.
Red wine also works as an effective skin toner; simply spread it over your face using a cotton square or pad. Let the wine soak into your skin for around 15 minutes or so and rinse it off with a gentle cleanser. The contents of red wine can also help skin to appear more radiant and revitalized.
18) Can help prevent sunburn
Researchers in Spain have found that compounds known as flavonoids, which are present in grapes and red wine, are able to obstruct chemical alterations in the human body that are attributed to skin damage. According to their analysis, the flavonoids thwart the ability of the skin to develop what is known as ‘reactive oxygen species’ or ROS. When these ROS comes in contact with UV radiation, it eliminates healthy cells and induces sunburn.
19) Provides hair care benefits
Red wine offers a number of important hair care benefits:
Reduces hair fallout – red wine consumption enhances the blood circulation about the scalp, resulting in less hair fallout, protecting against hair follicle damage, while stimulating hair growth. It also prevents the accumulation of defunct skin cells on top of the head.
Alleviates scalp irritation – red wine’s most potent polyphenol, resveratrol, is able to reduce inflammation, enabling it to alleviate the effects of scalp irritation. For this to take effect, the scalp must be washed with red wine, upon using shampoo or conditioner.
Eliminates dandruff – moderate red wine consumption helps to fortify blood vessels, while boosting blood circulation around the scalp. This helps to eliminate existing cases of dandruff, while also preventing its recurrence.
Revitalizes distressed hair – red wine contains an abundance of crucial vitamins and minerals that are able to effectively restore and revitalize distressed hair. Gentling massaging a little wine into the hair after it’s been washed, promotes the creation of a defensive coating that fixes broken hair and safeguards it from future damage.
Protects against hair aging – the contents of red wine helps to stimulate the growth of keratin, a class of fibrous structural proteins, known as scleroproteins. These proteins, along with the various vitamins and minerals contained within red wine, help to combat the effects of hair aging.
20) Can reduce the risk of arthritis in women
Studies conducted in Sweden support the claim that moderate red wine consumption may reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis in women. The research indicates that the compounds that exist in red wine accomplish this by effectively managing the body’s autoimmune response. This results in a reduction in the number of chemicals that are produced that are responsible for the inflammatory effects of rheumatoid arthritis.
Based on their findings, the researchers are of the opinion that red wine can weaken the potency and quantity of pro-inflammatory proteins, known as cytokines. Curiously, it was always also found that the volume of beneficial red wine elements appeared to be dependent on the type of grape, the area in which they were grown, the vintage, the terroir (climate, soil and terrain) and even the material of the container used to age the wine.
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Drinking red wine in moderation
The health benefits of red wine can best be obtained, if it is consumed in moderation. But what is moderation? For men, this generally means having up to 2 drinks per day, and for women and those above the age of 60, up to 1 drink per day. Where wine is concerned, a single drink equates to a single 5 oz glass of wine (12% alcohol). This variation on what is deemed ‘moderate’ consumption, is due to the difference in body mass of males and females and their respective metabolic rates. Males typically weigh more than females and have a faster metabolism than females, enabling their bodies to absorb more alcohol.
It must be noted however, that the above allowances of 2 drinks/day for men and 1 drink/day for women or those over 60, are only estimates and each person’s ability to absorb or metabolize wine is different, based not only on their size but also their genetics. It must also be stressed that moderate consumption of wine assumes that no other
Is red wine healthier than white wine?
Yes. And this is due to the crucial differences that exist in the fermentation process of red and white wine. With white wine, the grapes are compacted, with other elements such as the seeds and stems discarded before the process begins. Critically however, with white wine, the grape skins are also removed. With red wine on the other hand, the grapes are compressed and transported straight to the wooden barrels, or more commonly these days, into stainless steel tanks. Here the grapes are fermented with the skins intact (the stems are typically thrown away). It is the grape skin that gives red wine its distinct color. It is the grape skin that also gives red wine its remarkable health benefits.
Where health benefits are concerned, red wine is the clear winner. Firstly, antioxidants are more prevalent in red wine than in white wine. While both red and white wine contain ethanol – the agent responsible for wine’s intoxicating effect, red wine contains a greater density of polyphenols that help to neutralize the unwanted side effects of ethanol.
Which red wines are healthiest?
Primarily grown in Argentina, Malbec grapes have notoriously thick skin, meaning that they contain an abundance of antioxidants. Malbec red wines possess up to several times more antioxidants than other varieties. This is believed to be chiefly due to the favorable climatic conditions in which the grapes are cultivated.
One of the most well-known red wines in existence, pinot noir is cultivated in virtually all wine regions around the world. It contains a solid quantity of beneficial antioxidants such as resveratrol and as an added advantage, the initial fermentation process commences with a relatively low sugar count. This ensures a healthier end product with less sugar content than many other wines.
This is the most commonly grown grape on the planet and along with merlot, one of the most popular varieties of wine in the US. While being infused with identical cardio benefits as other wines, the contents of cabernet sauvignon also trigger the propagation of an essential protein, known as amyloid precursor protein (APP), which is believed to perform a number of complex tasks including synaptic formation and repair, somatic recombination, anterograde neuronal transport and iron export and hormonal regulation.
The grapes present in this wine generate an enormous quantity of tannins, which are responsible for the petite syrah’s strong and distinct flavor. Tannins also act as antioxidants, protecting the wines from the destructive effects of air exposure. Containing a host of polyphenols such as resveratrol and other essential compounds, petite syrah wine is equipped with all the medicinal benefits you would expect from a quality red wine blend.
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