I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I enjoy a really nice glass or two of red wine (sometimes white when I’m in the mood).
Whether I am having a wine night with my girls, making dinner for my boyfriend, or sometimes taking a shower with a glass of wine after a long day at work or school (my boyfriend will hand me a glass of wine without me even saying anything. He’s a keeper); wine it is my go-to!
And the best part is; it actually has some really, really amazing health benefits, if consumed in moderation.
There are a few important terms I wanted to go over before we start getting into the science of wine!
Polyphenols: Beneficial compounds found in plants. “Phenol” is a type of chemical compound, and “poly” means more than one. There is more than one of the compounds to make up a molecule. They may improve digestion, brain function, and blood sugar levels, as well as protect against blood clots, heart disease, and certain cancers.
Antioxidants: Compounds produced in your body and found in foods. They help defend your cells from damage caused by potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals. And antioxidants are categorized as polyphenols.
Wine is filled with antioxidants! There are thousands of different types of polyphenols, but there are specific ones that have been studied to assess their potential health benefits.
Red wine has been praised with its resveratrol content. Resveratrol is a compound naturally produced in the skin of grapes that is high in inflammatory properties. It is one of the most studied polyphenols in wine. It’s claim to fame is to potentially help fight off cancer and cardiovascular disease. It may also help battle neurodegenerative diseases and regulate insulin levels. Some studies show that the amount of reservatrol in just one or a few glasses of wine is enough for the body to reap the health benefits. Other scientists suggest in order for us to benefit from this polyphenol, we must drink multiple (more than just one or two) glasses of wine in one day. But, consuming lots of wine in order to gain the benefits of resveratrol is never advised.
Other important polyphenols in wine include: quercetin, anthocyanins, catechin, tannin and procyanidins. The effect of certain doses of resveratrol and other polyphenols on blood pressure, and oxidative stress, has been studied. But, further research is still needed to be done.
A few other benefits of red wine may include:
- Reduces the risk of stroke. The alcohol wine contains acts as a natural blood thinner preventing blood clots that could cause a stroke.
- Can lower cholesterol. Procyanidins and resveratrol keep your heart healthy and help increase the “good” HDL cholesterol while decreasing the “bad” LDL cholesterol.
- Reduces the risks of certain cancers. Antioxidants fight off free radicals that can cause cancer.
Red wine or white wine?
White wine is also known to improve heart health and may prevent heart diseases. On the other hand red wine has a much higher content of antioxidants. Since white wine is made in a different process than red wine, the amount of plant compounds becomes less than it already had.
The CDC Guidelines define moderate drinking as:
- 1 glass of wine per day for females
- 2 glasses of wine for males
For most people, enjoying wine in moderation is safe, but it is important to keep in mind that drinking alcohol in excess is harmful. Consuming alcohol should never be promoted as a way to improve health, given that the harmful effects can be massive if you drink too much of it.
As with any nutrition related topic, further research is needed and always being conducted! But a glass or two of red wine is heart healthy!
Happy safe, wine drinking!