Health Benefits of Drinking Red Wine | By Kimberly Akey
It isn’t breaking news that red wine can be beneficial to one’s health. There have been studies galore concluding that moderate consumption of red wine can improve coronary health, prevent certain cancers, and reduce the risk of stroke. Some studies attribute improved health to alcohol in general, and others give the non-alcoholic ingredients in red wine the credit. Nevertheless, sufficient research has been done to prove that the alcoholic and non-alcoholic components in red wine, when consumed in moderation, can work in favor of your body’s defense system.
The Science of Red Wine
Red wine is packed with antioxidants called polyphenols, which help to protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. Polyphenols have two main forms: flavonoids and nonflavonoids. Red wine has higher levels of flavonoids that other forms of alcohol, but these antioxidants can also be found in apples, oranges, onions, and tea. Nonflavonoids appear to help keep arteries clear from blockages of fat. A particular nonflavonoid – resveratrol – is of particular interest to those studying the effects of red wine.
Where does resveratrol come from? This antioxidant is found in the skin of grapes that are used to make wine. Simply eating grapes will yield resveratrol, but the added alcohol in red wine will also help to raise levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and thin the blood, resulting in improved cardiovascular health. In addition to clearing arteries, resveratrol is known to decrease blood clotting and prevent free radicals from damaging cells in the body.
Decreased Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke
For years, the French population has sparked many studies on the health benefits of drinking wine. Eating a diet high in fat, but drinking red wine regularly, the French have a significantly lower rate of heart disease, cancer, and stroke than other countries with similar diets but less wine consumption. Numerous studies have shown that red wine does in fact contain antioxidants that protect arteries and cells from destructive molecules.
Red wine is found to have equal health benefits in men and women. The alcohol in wine lowers levels of “bad” cholesterol, and the resveratrol is believed to also protect one from diabetes and obesity, both of which are linked to heart disease. Cancer studies have shown that moderate consumption of red wine can help to decrease the risk of lung cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer. Protein in red grape skins has been linked to the destruction of cancer cells. Cleaner arteries, due to the high level of antioxidants in red wine, help to reduce the risk of stroke in both men and women.
Moderation is Important
All the health benefits discussed in this article can be wiped out, and one’s health can be made worse, if moderation is not observed when drinking red wine. One drink of wine is a 5-ounce glass. In order for wine to be safe and effective, men should drink no more than two drinks per day, and women should have no more than one drink per day. However, the American Heart Association does not recommend that non-drinkers start drinking to improve their health. Due to the addictive nature of alcohol, moderation should be observed by everyone, whether drinking for health benefits or not.
The research is in – moderate consumption of red wine, along with a healthy diet, can work wonders for your health. So enjoy!