Is Red Wine Actually Healthy For You?
by Adam Ferguson
When it comes to the health value of red wine, it falls into one of those weird categories where a lot of people aren’t sure what to make of it. You see, a lot of us have heard that a glass of red wine a day can actually be good for you. But we also know that it’s alcohol so we’re always a bit skeptical.
So what is the deal with red wine then – is it actually good for you or is it just wishful thinking that any type of alcohol could be good for us?
Well it turns out that it has some really beneficial properties. I’ve set them out below. But some recent critics have started questioning those benefits. Overall though, moderate intake of red wine is generally believed to be good for you. Here are the details.
Is red wine actually healthy for you?
Scientific research over the past few decades indicates that moderate consumption of alcohol can be beneficial to your health. In fact, in 1992, alcohol was listed as one of the top ways to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by researchers from prestigious universities.
Red wine contains antioxidants called polyphenols. A polyphenol called resveratrol is believed to be instrumental in these health benefits. Researchers believe that resveratrol can help to slow aging and enhance the cell repair process.
It’s these benefits of resveratrol that have led many to conclude that red wine is healthy for the body. In fact, red wine has been credited for the improved health and reduced risk of heart disease in the French people, despite their tendency to consume relatively high-fat diets.
Here are some of the benefits of red wine:
1) Reduced risk of heart disease
When red wine is consumed in moderation, it helps raise the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, which prevents the formation of blood clots and helps to protect the arteries against damage caused by LDL (bad) cholesterol.
The antioxidants contained in red wine have also been shown to protect the heart and blood vessels from the effects of saturated fats.
2) Increased lifespan
The antioxidants contained in red wine are believed to slow the ageing process and protect the body against age related health problems such as osteoporosis.
In a study conducted by researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University, small doses of resveratrol were found to support the cell repair process. It was also found to reduce the oxidative stress of the body, whereby free radicals can increase the ageing process.
3) Protection against Alzheimer’s disease
Resveratrol has been found to protect the body cells against damage and enhance the cell repair process. This is believed to protect the body against age-related mental problems such as the Alzheimer’s disease.
Recent Studies Aren’t so Sure:
While people have relied on findings like the ones discussed above to justify their glass of wine a day, recent studies suggest that maybe it isn’t as great as everyone thinks.
A recent study in July 2014 sought to confirm this positive view of red wine discussed above. They followed inhabitants of two small Italian villages and measured how much resveratrol was in people’s urine. This would be a pretty good measure of how much red wine these people were drinking.
With that data in hand, they also tracked them for things like heart diseases, cholesterol and blood pressure. Then they compared the levels of resveratrol with the incidence of various illnesses.
Contrary to what people expected, there was no link found between the resveratrol and any increased resistance to things like heart disease, cancer, etc. On the contrary, the groups with the lowest consumption actually fared better.
Recent studies like these are causing people to question how beneficial red wine actually is. It should be noted, however, that just because there was no link between resveratrol and better health, there could still be a link with other aspects of red wine and better health.
Moreover, they also note that an increased consumption of red wine was also correlated with things like smoking – which obviously could be responsible for the increased incidence of disease. That’s the problem with studies of this nature – you can never isolate precisely what’s going on.
But, it does illustrate that there is still a debate among experts about whether red wine is actually beneficial.
Health Risks Associated with Red Wine:
While all those health benefits sound great, it is still an alcoholic beverage and its consumption can have some disadvantages.
The main point here is that excessive drinking of red wine can lead to a variety of health issues such as liver cirrhosis, increased risk of cancer, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, damage of the heart tissues and chronic pancreatic.
Moreover, drinking red wine in large quantities decreases concentration, mental alertness and reflexes, which can lead to various types of accidents. But we all already knew that, right?
How much wine should you consume?
Well, as you probably guessed, the key to getting the benefits without the health problems is moderation.
So what do we mean by “moderation”? Typically that means no more than 1-2 glasses a day (a 4-ounce glass is 1 serving).
To break it down even further, they say that men can have 1-2 servings while women should stick to 1 serving.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below!