Wine and the benefits it has on your health is a two-way street. While overindulging in wine, or any alcohol for that matter, can have very serious effects on your overall health as well as your personal life, there are a lot of positives you can get from it.
Wine has so many wonderful benefits that can help you to live a very long, healthy and prosperous life. The key word to remember here though is… MODERATION!
Let’s take a look at wine and the benefits it has on your body and overall health.
Wine is full of antioxidants
- Grapes contain polyphenols which are the powerful antioxidants that help eradicate free radicals that get built up in your cells that can lead to terrible health problems such as cancer and heart disease.
- Polyphenols are basically composed of tannins.
- The polyphenols in wine come from the seed and skin of the grape as well as the oak barrel, all of which create the tannic properties in wine.
- A study done by the University of Barcelona showed evidence that the polyphenols in certain white wines have antioxidants (due to similar tannic properties) that are equivalent to those found in red wine, something most of us would find hard to believe.
- However, only white wines that have had contact with skin (e.g. some Chardonnays, Viogniers and Semillons) and oak will be deemed equal to their red counterparts.
- Some wines (mostly full-bodied reds) will have more antioxidants than blueberries, pomegranates and the famous Açaí berry.
- Your best bets are deep, dark, full-bodied reds, as you can’t always guarantee an intense, oaky white will be available!
- Rule of thumb: If you can’t see through it, then it is very high in polyphenols and, in turn, will likely have higher antioxidant properties.
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Wine reduces the risk of heart disease
- Based on the above, the tannic properties from wine are shown to be effective in preventing cardiovascular disease.
- A study done by the Israel Institute of Technology found that after 21 consecutive days of drinking red wine (moderately...), the blood vessel cell health in the body was enhanced, resulting in improved blood flow.
- Improved blood flow = a healthy heart = a lower risk of heart disease
- The lesson is, if you want a healthy heart, drink a glass of wine a day (recommended “dosage” is 2 glasses for men and 1 glass for women...sorry gals!).
Wine reduces the risk of cancer
- Colon cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer can all be reduced by drinking a glass of wine a day.
- Cancer thrives on free radicals, so the antioxidants in wine combat that in reducing the risk.
- Resveratrol (a polyphenol), which some use as a supplement, is found naturally in the skin of grapes which aid in fighting off cancerous cells as well as heart disease.
- Resveratrol is more prominent in red wine, unless it is a white that has had some skin contact.
- Researchers at Harvard Medical School stated the following:
“Men who drink an average of four to seven glasses of red wine per week are only 52% as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer as those who do not drink red wine. In addition, red wine appears particularly protective against advanced or aggressive cancers.”
Wine reduces the risk of a stroke
- Moderate consumption of wine can reduce blood clotting.
- Wine naturally thins out your blood, preventing clotting which can lead to a stroke.
- However, even though light to moderate consumption can reduce the risk, it is important to know that heavy, overconsumption of wine can have the complete opposite effect and increase the risk.
- Female drinkers will benefit more by having thinner blood due to the makeup of their bodies and as they are not able to absorb as many polyphenols.
Wine increases bone density
- When you think of bone density, you think calcium as the only aid.
- You can of course increase your calcium intake by drinking milk, but sometimes we’d all prefer to have cheese (and hence calcium) and glass of wine over a glass of milk.
- Red wine has high levels of silicon, which is great for your bone mineral density.
- An increase in bone density will help lower your chances of getting osteoporosis.
- Wine, just like a glass of milk, although highly unlikely, will also help you sleep better at night.
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Wine lowers cholesterol
- The polyphenols in wine help lower cholesterol.
- The resveratrol, as mentioned previously, helps in reducing LDL (Low-density Lipoprotein = Bad Cholesterol) and increasing HDL (High-density Lipoproteins = Good Cholesterol).,
- Good cholesterol also means a good balanced blood pressure.
- So not only will wine lower your cholesterol, it will also stabilise your blood pressure, and if you have high blood pressure, I’d suggest pouring yourself a glass!
Wine boosts your immune system, promotes longevity and increases your brain function
- Alcohol within moderation keeps your body in check by killing off bad bacteria that can cause infections.
- Don’t rely on alcohol entirely though to keep your immune system in tip-top shape, you should still continue to take your multivitamins.
- Studies have also shown that wine can prevent the neurons in the brain from dying off and, as result, protect the brain from dementia and other brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
- Finally, polyphenols in wine also help activate a protein in the body that acts as an anti-aging property. The interaction of these polyphenols increases overall health and thus promoting longevity.
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The important thing to remember here is that the polyphenols which are naturally present in a grape are the key to it all.
Polyphenols = Tannins = Antioxidants = Resveratrol. It's crazy to think that it all boils down to the grape, and with a grape being a fruit, it means that all fruits are good for you no matter what shape or form they come in.
I'll leave you all with a final question: Did an apple a day, really keep the doctor away? Personally, for me, it hasn’t, but a glass of wine a day certainly has!
Happy Drinking…in MODERATION!