Have you ever filled up another glass of pinot noir or merlot while telling yourself that it’s healthy? It’s a belief that dates back to the 1970s when scientists found that the French were less likely than others to develop heart disease, despite their diet of cheese and other fatty food. They deduced that there’s a connection between lower levels of heart disease and wine. Small wonder then that France is home to one of the cities named as the healthiest places to live in.
Enjoy But Drink in Moderation
Alcohol should be consumed in moderation as alcohol-related harm continues to rise and kill millions of people every year. However, an occasional glass should be beneficial to your health. Too much of anything is always bad, even medicine and your everyday vitamins can bring harm when consumed in large quantities.
Having said that, it’s good to enjoy your red wine along with your friends, whether you are opening a bottle at home or ordering from restaurant menu boards. But limit yourself to small amounts. So before you think about abstaining from wine altogether, it’s good to know why a glass of red wine can actually be good for you. It is, after all, the first documented man-made medicine in ancient Egyptian times.
So what are the health benefits of red wine and how can it be good for health?
1. Good for the heart.
Red wine has a property called polyphenols. This plant compound is usually found in the skins of red and purple grapes and is packed with antioxidants. Other antioxidant properties may also increase levels of lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, also considered as good cholesterol, and protect against buildup of bad cholesterol.
2. Rich in antioxidants
The level of antioxidants will depend on the kind of red wine you consume so be sure that you know the basics about the wine you’re consuming. The darker the grapes used, the higher the number of antioxidants it has.
What you’re after are the resveratrols, catechins, epi catechins and proanthocyanidins as they’re the components that will keep you healthy. These substances can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body while protecting cells and molecules from damage.
3. Regulates blood sugar
As mentioned above, red wine has a compound called resveratrol, which controls blood sugar levels. This can be good for diabetic persons, however, consult with your physician first to know the amount you can consume. Research has shown that people who took 250 mg of resveratrol supplements once a day for three months obtained lower glucose levels than those who did. Other than this, it also helps manage systolic blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
4. May prevent cancer
Research shows that an antioxidant found in red wine destroys cancer cells whether it be skin cancer or breast cancer and boosts the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments. However, this isn’t necessarily specific to red wines since the helpful element here is resveratrol. It is not advisable to let cancer patients consume it, rather, it’s a good prevention method.
5. Skin benefits
Since red wine is packed with antioxidants like polyphenols, resveratrol, tannin and flavonoid, it protects skin from aging. How? It restores elasticity and collagen. It also has natural AHAs, an antiseptic property that reduces the chances of your skin breaking out.
You can include it in your nighttime skincare routine. Aside from ingesting it, try using it as a toner once a week. Start by applying it to your face using a cotton ball or pad. Just like a face mask, leave it for 20 minutes and rinse with a mild cleanser. This can help brighten a dull complexion and give you a healthy glow. Remember to do a patch test before doing this. Apply a small amount on your neck, your wrist, or the underside of your jaw. If you don’t have any allergic reactions, then you can apply it to your face.
6. Better sleep
The best time to drink red wine is before you go to bed, you enjoy the wine while having a bath in the hot tub on your patio. A small glass can help you calm and relax your mind and body. Red wine has high amounts of melatonin, a sleep hormone naturally found in the body and can also be found in fermented beverages.
Since red grapes are considered to be one of the fruits with the highest levels of melatonin, you can find high melatonin content in merlot, nebbiolo, cabernet sauvignon and Croatiana, among others.
7. Good for digestion
Red wine has an anti-bacterial property that enables it to fight digestive disorders like stomach irritation. It helps the stomach convert potentially toxic chemicals into less dangerous compounds.
If you have existing gut issues, drinking wine isn’t advisable. However, if you have a healthy gut, drinking wine once a week will help promote good bacteria.
“Wine is inspiring and adds greatly to the joy of living.” – Napoleon
As in many things, drinking red wine has pros and cons. Avoid it if you’re pregnant or have an existing physical condition. Otherwise, it’s a great way to just enjoy a meal and celebrate good times.