Is Drinking Wine Compatible With Your Fitness Goals?

12.13.19  \\\  Posted by Jennifer O’Neill  \\\  Wine 101

There are countless studies on the benefits of wine, with one recent study by researchers at the University of Rochester showing that Bacchus’ favorite nectar can actually boost brain health. Many studies have focused on the cardiovascular effects of wine in particular. The question remains, however: can drinking wine in moderate amounts help you be fitter and more energetic, and what role can it play in your daily fitness routine?

Can Wine Mimic The Effects Of Exercise?

A 2011 study published in the FASEB Journal found that red wine’s most oft-researched ingredient, resveratrol, can help prevent the negative health effects that sedentarism can inflict. In lab tests, mice given a resveratrol supplement and placed in a simulated weightless environment, had a reduced muscle loss and less bone mineral density loss, than those who were not given the supplement. Another (2012) study published in the Journal of Physiology showed that high doses of supplemented resveratrol improved physical performance, heart function, and muscle strength in lab studies.

While resveratrol is indeed a performance enhancer, it is important to note that the average glass of wine contains between 0.2 to 2mg per serving. However, in the 2012 study, participants were given 146mg of resveratrol per kg of body weight. Therefore, drinking a couple of glasses of wine will not have the same effect as supplementation. Moreover, doctors generally recommend consuming a varied, nutritious diet instead of relying on supplements for better health.

Secret Lies In Gut Health

If the above findings disappointed you, take note - newer studies may just make you smile again. Regardless of whether you are a serious CrossFit athlete firmly focused on nutrition or you simply enjoy eating healthily, you may already be doing exactly what your microbiota need to thrive. Athletes in intense and moderate sports alike usually consume healthy lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, pulses, and healthy fats. These foods enable them to reach peak performance, but they also have a beneficial effect on the gut - which is good news for athletes wishing to keep their weight down. If in doubt, follow a Mediterranean-style diet, which can include a couple of glasses of red wine a day. For optimal health effects, wines such as Malbec, Pinot Noir and Petite Sirah are known to have a particularly high resveratrol content.

How Can Red Wine Benefit The Gut?

Research has shown that consuming a wide range of foods (including probiotics) can lead to the growth and maintenance of a healthy gut microbiome (the combination of healthy bacteria that can help boost physical and mental health). A 2019 study by researchers at Kings College London found that people who drank red wine had a higher gut microbiota diversity than those who didn’t. Depleted microbiota levels are linked to weight gain, high cholesterol, and a hampered immune system. Therefore, athletes wishing to stay at the top of their game, maintain a healthy weight, and avoid falling ill can see wine as part and parcel of the important process of protecting their gut health.

Resveratrol - a powerful antioxidant found in red wine - has long been known to promote heart health. However, wine also has another important role to play - that of protecting gut health. Having a wide variety of healthful bacteria in the gut is good for boosting the immunity and keeping inflammation at bay. Therefore, enjoying red wine in moderation can indeed improve your health and keep you on track when it comes to fitness.