We all have that friend who is obsessed with wine; the one who can actually taste notes of blackberry and oat while we’re proud of ourselves for recognizing that it’s a cabernet. It turns out your wine snob friend may be on to something. Wine has long been thought to be beneficial for our health, so long as it’s consumed in moderation. Usually red wine gets all the attention, but a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that white wine may have the same health benefits.
Dating back to 6,000 BC, humans have always loved their wine. Back then it was reserved for aristocrats and clergy, but these days anyone can enjoy a nice glass of two buck chuck. Ancient Egyptians used wine as medicine, and they may have been way ahead of their time. Red wine may actually protect against heart disease. Scientists believe the antioxidants found in red wine help prevent cholesterol buildup in our arteries. It’s this cholesterol buildup that can lead to heart disease. However, don’t expect a prescription for cabernet any time soon. Doctors are not ready to actually recommend alcohol, especially if alcoholism runs in your family.
But if you usually enjoy a glass of wine after winding down from a long day, get ready for some serious health benefits. Everything from dementia to sunburn can be prevented with your nightly glass.
Occasional glass of wine can be good for your health. While there are reasons aplenty to give up on alcohol altogether, you could stick to your nightly routine of downing a glass. As long you don’t go overboard, there’s nothing to worry about. Here’s how it could benefit you.
Longer life span
Enjoying a nightly glass of wine may lead to a longer life. Regular wine drinkers have a 34 percent lower rate of mortality than their beer or liquor-drinking buds. And if you’re living longer, you may as well look younger while you’re at it, right?
You can thank the researchers at Harvard Medical School for this one. The compound resveratrol, which is found in red wine, has been linked to having anti-aging properties. If you’re not a wine drinker, you can still reap the benefits. In addition to finding this compound in red wine, you can also get it from eating grapes, blueberries, cranberries, and nuts. Resveratrol activates an anti-aging pathway in the body that leads to a longer lifespan, so drink up! However, this link is only found in moderate drinkers, so regularly drinking an entire bottle by yourself will undoubtedly make you look older, not younger.
While it may not necessarily help in shedding the kilos, studies have shown that the resveratrol (a compound found in certain plants that has antioxidant properties) contained in wine can help prevent weight gain.
Your brain will thank you
Too many glasses of wine can leave your brain feeling a little fuzzy, but one with dinner is just right. Having that nightly wine may even protect your brain from a blood clot or bleed. People who drink one or two drinks per night have an eight percent lower risk of having a stroke. However, don’t go crazy. Heavy drinkers, having at least four drinks per night, have a 14 percent increased risk of stroke than those who don’t drink or only drink occasionally.
A glass of red wine with dinner may also put you at lower risk for dementia. Moderate red wine drinkers have a 23 percent lower risk of developing dementia than those who don’t drink.
However, none of these findings should ever suggest that you have to drink wine in order to be healthy. “We don’t recommend that nondrinkers start drinking,” Professor Edward J. Neafsey told Medical Times Today. “But moderate drinking, if it is truly moderate, can be beneficial.”
It is the antioxidant resveratrol that is to be credited for this. The tannins contained in red wine are associated with protecting against heart diseases. Additionally, those with hypertension have a 30 per cent less chance of having a heart attack if they drink wine moderately, a study by the Harvard School of Public Health concludes.
There have been studies showing an increase in bone turnover in menopausal women who drank one drink per day on average. It is to be noted, however, that heavy drinking can cause osteoporosis (a thinning and weakening of the bones). Moderation is the key.
You’ll be happy
We all tend to feel a little more relaxed after a glass of wine. The stresses of the day melt away as we sit at dinner with our friends and family, enjoying good conversation and great wine. It turns out those good feelings last way beyond dinner.
According to a study in BMC Medicine, moderate wine drinking may be protective against depression. Drinking two to seven glasses of wine per week (no, not per day, sorry ladies) is associated with lower rates of depression. However, once your drinking goes from moderate to too much, the chances of feeling depressed also go up. Heavy drinking is associated with high rates of depression. Keep the good vibes flowing with a few glasses of wine per week.
Your vision may get blurry while you’re drinking, but in the long run, wine consumption will help better it. According to an Icelandic study, moderate drinkers are 32 per cent less likely to get cataract.
While alcohol consumption is directly linked to cancer (including reproductive cancers), wine has protective benefits. Once again, it is the resveratrol with its anti-cancer properties that is to be credited.
Less likely to fall sick
Over the years, several researches have confirmed the presence of immune-boosting properties in wine, including the antioxidants that keep the heart strong. But, keep in mind that this is in addition to the healthy foods — rich in proteins and vitamins that are already a part of your daily diet.
While a nightly glass of red wine certainly seems like it could be part of a healthy lifestyle, don’t feel like you have to drink everyday. Both the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute do not recommend drinking solely for heart health.
Always remember that alcohol can be addictive, and drinking too much leads to major health problems. Alcohol abuse leads to liver and pancreatic diseases, heart disease, some cancers, stroke, obesity, and accidents or violence.
If alcoholism runs in your family or you’ve ever had an addiction, steer clear of the wine.