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Is Wine Good for You? An Overview of the Science
McKenzie Hagan |
Let’s put this to bed once and for all: Is wine good for you? You may have heard the rumor that a glass of vino could actually be a benefit to your health, rather than a detriment. It’s true that wine-loving citizens in France have low rates of heart disease despite their high consumption of fatty foods — a phenomenon called the French Paradox.
But could something as decadent and delicious as wine ever be doing us good?
In this article, we look into the reported health benefits of regular wine consumption. We’ll study the best components of red wine and the remarkable studies showing how wine can improve our heart health, gut health, and even help to keep us safe from cancers.
Keep reading to discover if your love of wine could be helping or hindering your health.
Red Wine vs. White Wine: Choose Red
While red, white, and rosé wines have various health benefits, red wines are especially beneficial. Because red wines are made by fermenting and maturing red grapes with the grape skins intact, red wines have various antioxidants that are good for your health.
One of these antioxidants is a polyphenol, which is a natural compound found in various fruits, dark chocolate, and tea. Research has shown that regular intake of polyphenols can boost digestion, lower blood sugar, and even improve brain health.
Research also shows that the higher levels of tannins in red wine can promote heart health. Scientists have found that countries who drink more tannic wine could even live longer. If you’re looking for wines with high tannins, opt for Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah.
To top it off, red wine drinkers also benefit from lower carbohydrates per glass and lower sugar levels. However, if you love Chardonnay and simply can’t get onboard with a glass of Merlot, it’s not all bad news. White wine on average is lower in alcohol than red wine and has fewer calories too.
Health Benefits of Red Wine
As we can see, the odd glass of red wine is a better choice than white wine, but let's dig a little deeper into the reasons why.
Improve Cardiovascular Health
One of the polyphenols in red wine is resveratrol. Resveratrol has gotten plenty of attention in scientific circles due to its ability to safeguard you from cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease and heart attacks.
Resveratrol may be able to protect wine drinkers from damaged blood vessels, reduce bad cholesterol, help to prevent inflammation, and lower blood pressure and blood clots.
However, this research must be taken with a grain of salt. While some studies have found resveratrol to be the superhero it claims to be, other research shows little to no effect on the subject’s heart health.
Strangely enough, some scientists believe that alcohol in general can benefit your cardiovascular health. Although it’s important to remember that the American Heart Association does not recommend drinking alcohol for a healthy heart and warns that alcohol is addictive.
Overconsumption of alcoholic beverages can lead to:
- Liver disease
- Disrupted sleep
- Accidents and dangerous driving
- Weight gain and obesity
Safeguard Against Certain Cancers
Various research suggests that your daily glass of wine could protect you from certain cancers.
It may sound too good to be true, but researchers found a link between regular wine consumption and women having a lower chance of ovarian cancer. In fact, an Australian study found that a glass of wine a day lowered the chance of getting ovarian cancer by 20%.
However, there’s another side to every coin. Research has shown that those who drink more than a glass of wine a day are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer compared to those who do not drink.
Furthermore, most doctors suggest that heavy alcohol consumption could actually lead to a growth in cancer cells rather than a reduction. However, plenty of doctors see nothing wrong with enjoying alcohol in moderation.
Improve Gut Health
Studies have found that regular wine consumption can improve your gut health. One study even shows that red wine could reduce your risk of stomach ulcers, gastritis, and stomach cancer.
These improvements in gut health are due to the high levels of polyphenols found in red wine. Research also suggests that red wine in particular has prebiotic qualities, which help to boost healthy gut bacteria.
Research is still in its infancy regarding wine and gut health, but so far results seem promising.
A Few Caveats To the Health Benefits of Wine
As we’ve stated, a lot of this research must be taken with a grain of salt. While it does appear that people who regularly drink wine have a better standard of health, it's important to remember the other factors here.
For instance, much of this research is based on countries like France, Italy, and Spain, who as a culture drink red wine reguarily. What isn’t taken into account is the people in these countries often follow a Mediterranean diet, a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fresh fish, and plenty of olive oil. Therefore it’s hard to know if the boosted health of these communities is due to their wine consumption or their healthy eating.
However, scientists do seem to be in agreement that moderate drinking (one glass of wine a day) won’t do you much harm, and could have some health benefits. But remember that going above moderate alcohol consumption can lead to health issues, including addiction, liver disease, and increased risk of stroke.
That’s one of the reasons our single serving bottles are great. If you struggle to just have one, our little bottles take away that temptation and give you control of how much you’re drinking.
Wine Can Lead To Wellness
Could it be possible that something as wonderful as wine could be good for you? It may seem too good to be true, but it appears that the rumors are definitely based in reality. Wine, especially red wine, has many health benefits.
As always, it’s important to remember the limitations of these studies, and remember that for optimum health we must remember to eat well, get plenty of exercise, and regularly visit our doctors.
However, it’s hard to ignore the good news. From improving our cardiovascular health to safeguarding us from certain cancers, a regular glass of Pinot Noir could be doing us a world of good.
So, perhaps it’s time to swap that vodka soda for a glass of the good stuff?