For a number of people like me, there really isn’t much more relaxing than enjoying a glass of wine at the end of a long hard day. Well, the good news is that there are many amazing health benefits that come with partaking of this delicious alcoholic beverage. There has been some debate over the last few years about whether drinking red wine is in fact more beneficial than harmful to your health, but there is actually more evidence from doctors and other medical professionals now that suggest that consuming red wine in moderate amounts is actually good for your health. The Mayo Clinic Staff tell us,
Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and protecting against artery damage.
But what is it about this beverage that makes it so great for our bodies?
Polyphenol & Resveratrol
One of the biggest benefits red wine provides is the ample amount of antioxidants, more specifically, polyphenols. Polyphenols have a tendency to protect your body cells and tissues from harmful damage that can result in cancer development and heart disease. Meanwhile, the reason red wine is red is because of a chemical called resveratrol, and scientists have shown research indicating that resveratrol can help to slow down the aging process. It has also been linked to weight loss and an overall healthier life. The number one reason that red wine is better for you than white wine is because of the larger concentration of polyphenols in red grapes than any other variety of grapes.
Resveratrol is a chemical compound in red wine, and it has brought quite a bit of attention over the last decade. Scientists and wine enthusiasts are enamored with the proposed anti-aging properties of resveratrol, and it has also been observed to cause fewer cases of the common cold. We learn from Prevention Magazine that,
A 2010 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that among 4,000 faculty members at five Spanish universities, those who drank more than 14 weekly glasses of wine for a year were 40% less likely to come down with a common cold.
But resveratrol is just one of the many beneficial compounds contained in red wine. There are also loads of immune system boosting antioxidants that raise the level of good cholesterol in the body, protecting against damage to arteries, and lowering the overall risk of heart disease. It is amazing to think that you can actually lower your risk of heart disease by simply enjoying a glass or two of wine every day, but this has been proven by research. But what exactly are antioxidants? Antioxidants are a large group of chemicals that prevent the oxidation of other molecules. Polyphenols are one kind of antioxidants and are divided into two basic groups – flavonoids and non-flavonoids. Antioxidants protect the lining of blood vessels and prevent the formation of blood clots in the body.
You may think that the best benefit of enjoying a glass of red wine is simply enhancing the taste of your dinner at night, but there are so many more great reasons to drink wine in moderation. If you can limit your consumption to no more than two glasses of wine a day, you can lower your risk of heart attack and heart disease significantly, while also lowering the amount of bad cholesterol in your system, and raising the good cholesterol. This combined with the lower risk of blood clots makes this beverage much better than plain old sweet tea with your evening meal.
One of the reasons that red wine is able to lower your risk of heart disease is because alcohol in moderate amounts has been shown to increase the amount of high density lipoproteins, or good cholesterol, in the body. And laboratory studies have actually shown that red wine can slow down the growth of many cancerous tumors and block the formation of many cancers altogether. But the key to getting the most from red wine is to consume it only in moderation.
Make Sure to Drink in Moderation
All the benefits listed above rest on the assumption that you will drink no more than two glasses of red wine a day. Drinking in excess has the potential to cause many health risks, which would have the exact opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve. A study of middle-aged women in the United Kingdom showed that excessive consumption of wine and other alcoholic beverages led to an increased chance of developing certain cancers like oral cancer, esophageal cancer, rectum cancer, liver cancer, and breast cancer. So the question is, “how much is enough?” The Yale-New Haven Hospital blog says,
A four-ounce glass of wine is equivalent to one serving. Men will benefit from consuming one to two servings per day. Women should consume only one serving per day to reap the maximum benefits. This is not to say that you should start drinking alcohol if you presently do not.
So what we have learned is that while drinking red wine can be great for your health, drinking more than three glasses a day can cause a rise in triglyceride levels, causing you to potentially suffer from high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. This means, it is absolutely essential that you drink in moderation. Drinking too much can elevate your risks for developing cancer or deadly cardiovascular disease. For the best health benefits, make sure to enjoy that delicious wine in moderation, one glass a day for ladies, and two glasses a day for men. This will give you a high concentration of antioxidants, and with it tremendous health benefits.
If you don’t drink alcohol for either religious or cultural reasons, you can still take advantage of the health benefits of red wine since many drug companies are now manufacturing a synthetic version of resveratrol and are able to put it into a dissolvable pill. This way you can get all the health benefits without drinking alcohol.