Wine is vastly explored for its health benefits. In fact, there is evidence showing moderate consumption may lower the risk of chronic diseases and promote longevity.
So, if you enjoy taking the time to wine and dine, you are doing more than just having a drink. You are actually, in many ways, benefiting your health.
Our dietitian reveals the benefits of drinking wine and which kind may be the healthiest!
10 Health Benefits of Wine
When it comes to the health benefits of wine, red wine appears to be more beneficial. "Red wines have the most health and nutritional benefit," says Christy Zagarella, leading dietitian of bistroMD. "This is due to its high resveratrol content."
Resveratrol is a type of polyphenol and powerful antioxidant, a compound that reduces damaging stress to the body. Red and purple grapes used in red wine production contain more resveratrol compared to green grapes used for white wine.
"While some studies show some white wines contain antioxidants, no significant indication exists that they are as healthy as red wines." And truly, red wine benefits the body in a number of ways, including the 10 listed and detailed below.
1. Wine may reduce cardiovascular disease risk.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Reducing its risk comes mostly by adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, in which red wine may be included.
Research published in Circulation shows polyphenols in red wine can improve fibrinolysis and decrease platelet aggregation. These combining factors can lower the risk of blood clot formation. It may also increase HDL (good) cholesterol and promote nitric oxide release.
Nitric oxide helps expand blood vessels, increasing blood flow and decreasing plaque growth and blood clotting. This can also improve blood pressure. "Wine can actually help reduce clots and blood vessel inflammation. Both of which have been linked to cognitive decline and heart disease," says Christy.
Additional research also shows regular red wine consumption reduces cardiovascular disease risk in postmenopausal women. The study was the first of its kind to show red wine can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
2. Wine may keep the brain healthy.
Research from Biological Research found light-to-moderate wine consumption was significantly associated with lower dementia risk. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.
A newer study shows that low levels of alcohol consumption can lower inflammation and help the brain clear away toxins. These include toxins associated with Alzheimer's disease, which is a type of dementia.
3. Wine can protect from a stroke.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within a matter of minutes, brain cells start to die.
Red wine has not only been shown to reduce the risk of stroke (up to 50 percent!) but protects the brain following one. According to research from Johns Hopkins Medicine, this is largely due to its resveratrol content.
Two hours after feeding mice resveratrol, scientists induced an ischemic stroke by cutting off blood supply to the brain. They found animals who had preventively ingested the resveratrol suffered significantly less brain damage than the ones not given the compound.
"Our study adds to evidence that resveratrol can potentially build brain resistance to ischemic stroke," says Sylvain Doré, Ph.D., the leader of the study.
4. Wine may lower the risk of and manage diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition in which the cells are not able to use glucose for energy. This leads to high blood sugar and increases the risk of additional health problems, including diseases of the heart and kidneys.
Preventing diabetes, type 2 specifically, is primarily based on weight management and lifestyle factors. Alcohol may be included, too, based on data from the Danish Health Examination Survey 2007-2008.
After analyzing data from over 70,000 eligible participants, researchers found alcohol drinking frequency is associated with the risk of diabetes. More specifically, the consumption of alcohol over 3 to 4 days per week is associated with the lowest risk of diabetes. Moderate alcohol consumption may likewise decrease fasting insulin and HbA1c concentrations among non-diabetic subjects based on a meta-analysis.
Moderate wine intake in adults with type 2 diabetes also proves to be beneficial based on a long-term trial. Researchers found a healthy diet and moderate alcohol intake, particularly red wine, were associated with better lipid and glucose control. The results also emerged without significant wine side effects.
However, it is extremely important to check with a healthcare professional before drinking with diabetes and do so in moderation. Drinking alcohol can increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, which can be dangerous and even fatal.
5. Wine shows to offer antibacterial properties.
Red wine shows to offer antibacterial properties, including eradicating Helicobacter pylori. Also known as simply H. pylori, the bacteria is one of the major causes of ulcers, gastritis, and stomach cancers.
Research published in Food Research International found resveratrol and red wines showed an inhibitory effect on H. pylori. The protective properties may be able to lower the risks of its associated health risks.
6. Wine may protect from certain forms of cancer.
Antioxidants are an area of interest for cancer prevention and management in cancer. So naturally, there is a strong interest in resveratrol's contribution to the quest for a cure.
Excitingly, there is evidence indicating resveratrol displays anti-cancer properties. It also affects all three stages of carcinogenesis, or the initiation of cancer formation.
However, too much alcohol can increase cancer risk. Recent research warns drinking one bottle of wine weekly could have the same impact as smoking five cigarettes for men and 10 for women.
7. Wine may lower bone loss risk.
Bone health is mostly attributed to calcium and vitamin D, but red wine may also be of benefit.
Reported by WebMD, moderate drinking may help older women's bones. This is based on a study from Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society which included 40 healthy women early in menopause. They also were 90 percent wine drinkers.
The women were asked to abstain from alcohol for two weeks, during which before and after blood samples were taken. After reintroducing alcohol again, researchers noticed a lower overall bone turnover rate, which may reduce bone loss.
8. Wine can improve gut health.
Gut microbiota is an integral component of digestion and nutrition and has shown to offer beneficial interactions with the immune system. Emerging findings include their relationships with chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, obesity, and diabetes.
The polyphenols found in red wine shows to maintain and improve gut health. They primarily do so by balancing gut bacteria, stimulating healthy bacteria, and inhibiting the bad.
A healthy gut is further impacted by a nutritious, fiber-filled diet with an adequate intake of fluid.
9. Wine can fit into a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
All-in-all, wine can fit into a balanced diet rich in fiber, lean protein, and healthy fat. Pairing with regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management can take these benefits even further.
"To get the most health benefits from your glass of wine, it is important that to not overshoot serving sizes. Men and women should know their limits, too," encourages Christy.
"One serving size of wine is 5 ounces, in which a standard bottle should pour out about 6 portioned glasses. And ideally, women should consume no more than 3 alcoholic drinks per week. Men should limit intake to 4 drinks per week. This especially serves true if managing weight."
Besides, wine can lead to weight loss and management if consumed in moderation. Red wine may also curb appetite and lessen the risk of overeating.
10. Wine can promote longevity.
Researchers hypothesize wine promotes longevity by reducing health conditions and improving overall health. But most importantly, if consumed in moderation.
Wine may not be the sure ticket to a long life. But the memories made while sipping a glass near loved ones will be forever cherished.
Wine Health Benefits Recap
From heart health to longevity, wine - or red wine particularly - may elicit health benefits. However, this does not mean more is better...
To gain the fullest benefit from wine, ensure you are moderating intake or perhaps not pick up the habit if you are not already drinking wine.
Also, be sure wine consumption aligns with a total healthy lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, obtaining adequate rest, and managing stress are tried and true ways to reap the aforementioned health benefits.