Red wine is enjoyed around the world and, when consumed responsibly, can be an important component of a healthy lifestyle. The alcohol and antioxidants, particularly resveratrol, that are present in the red wine are believed to contribute to a number of health benefits. The health benefits of red wine are only reaped with moderate consumption, which is defined as one glass of wine for women and 2 glasses of wine for men. Excessive consumption of red wine, as with any other alcoholic beverage, can be detrimental to one’s health.
#1: You’ll Have a Healthier Heart
The alcohol in red wine is believed to help promote heart health. Drinking red wine can help to keep blood vessel walls flexible and open, preventing high blood pressure and heart attacks. In addition to keeping vessels flexible, red wine also has anticoagulant properties, which help fight off heart disease by preventing platelets from clumping together and forming blood clots that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
#2: You Will Have Lower LDL Cholesterol
Red wine reduces risk of heart disease by helping the body maintain a health ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol. It accomplishes this by lowering LDL cholesterol while simultaneously raising HDL cholesterol in the blood. LDL cholesterol is seen as “bad” cholesterol because it builds up as thick plaques that can clog arteries, leading to heart attacks and strokes. HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, helps to clear away LDL cholesterol that has built up in arteries.
#3: You Will Reduce the Risk of Certain Kinds of Cancers
Red wine is believed to help reduce the risk of certain types of cancers, particularly head, neck, and colon cancer. In particular, the resveratrol found in red wine is a natural antioxidant that helps to neutralize free radicals, reactive chemicals that are thought to damage cells and cause cancer. A number of studies have also seen that resveratrol help fight and destroy cancerous cells.
#4: You May Experience Weight Loss
While it is absolutely not a substitute for exercise and proper dieting, drinking moderate amounts of red wine is believed to help fight against weight gain. A number of studies have shown that a chemical compound called piceatannol, which is converted by our bodies from resveratrol, helps to prevent the maturation and growth of fat cells by binding to and blocking their insulin receptors. Research has also shown that resveratrol may encourage the body to convert excess stored fat into a form that is easier for the body to burn for energy.
#5: You’ll Have Better Dental Hygiene
Studies have shown that the grape seed extract found in red wine may help prevent cavities and gum disease by fighting off bacteria in the mouth that grow and form plaques that stick to your teeth. The bacterial plaques produce acid that lead to tooth decay (cavities) and gum disease. Red wine is also believed to help strengthen the gums and harden tooth enamel. In conjunction with regular flossing and brushing, moderate red wine consumption can assist in the maintenance of proper dental hygiene.
#6: Your Blood Sugar Levels Will Be More Regulated
A number of chemicals in red wine have been shown to help keep your blood sugar in check by inhibiting the absorption of glucose by the small intestine into the bloodstream. Researchers believe that moderate red wine consumption may help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is characterized by an abnormally high level of blood glucose due to the body’s inability to use the hormone insulin properly to break down glucose for energy.
#7: You Will Increase Bone Density
A study performed by Danish researchers showed that red wine consumption led to increased bone mineral density. It is believed that resveratrol accomplishes this by stimulating the body’s bone-forming cells. Additionally, researchers believe that resveratrol’s anti-inflammatory properties may help to prevent bone loss in those with metabolic disease. Some studies have also shown that moderate red wine consumption may help to decrease risk of developing osteoporosis, a disease that causes highly fragile and brittle bones.
#8: You’ll Experience Better Digestion
Moderate red wine consumption can help soothe stomach irritations and improve digestion. This effect is due to resveratrol’s ability to boost the growth of bacteria lining the digestive tract. Gut bacteria are essential to proper health because they help to neutralize toxic digestive by-products, stimulate the breakdown of food, and aid in the absorption of nutrients.
#9: You Will Fight Off Age-Related Memory Loss
Although excessive alcohol consumption is detrimental to mental health, moderate red wine consumption may help stave off the development of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia with old age. Resveratrol has been shown to disrupt the formation of a protein called beta-amyloid, which is believed to be a critical factor in the cognitive decline and memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. Recent research also shows that resveratrol may have a positive effect on the hippocampus, the region of the brain that is important for learning and memory formation.
#10: You’ll Have a Lower Risk of Getting a Common Cold
While red wine will not cure the common cold, it can help to decrease one’s susceptibility to developing it. A study involving 4,300 adults found that those who drank 8-14 glasses of red wine per week had up to a 60% reduced risk of getting a cold. Although the exact mechanism for how red wine helps stave off the common cold is unknown, it is believed that resveratrol can help the body maintain proper immune function and that its antioxidant properties help fight off damaging free radicals.
#11: You’ll Have Healthier, Better Looking Skin
The antioxidant content of red wine helps to promote smooth and radiant skin because it fights off free radicals that will damage your skin and cause it to prematurely age. In addition to fighting off free radicals, red wine also helps to maintain your skin’s connective tissue, keeping your skin elastic and wrinkle-free. Resveratrol has been shown to both curb the growth of acne-causing bacteria and increase the effectiveness of many over-the-counter acne medications.
#12: You’ll Ge Better at Fighting Stress
This may be red wine’s most beneficial effect. A glass of red wine at night can help you to relax and unwind from a stressful day. High levels of stress have been definitively shown to lead to premature aging and the development numerous health problems, including, but not limited to, heart disease, obesity, and depression.