Red Wine: Let’s Drink to Your Health

You might have heard a rumor you were afraid to believe that red wine is good for you. You might have thought, Is this like that time they told us we could eat pork rinds and cheese all day and lose weight?

It is not. It is a fact supported by research. Let’s take a closer look at what science has shown are four significant benefits of red wine for your health.

  1. Red wine has resveratrol, which could reduce the risks of some serious health conditions

Resveratrol is a natural stilbene found in the skins of the grapes used to make red wine.  Stilbenes are a group of nonflavonoid phytochemicals which have the potential for the prevention and treatment of serious health conditions. Resveratrol is touted to be helpful in the prevention of cardiovascular, inflammatory, neurodegenerative, metabolic, and age-related diseases.

The buzz about resveratrol began in the 1980s when researchers noticed a mysterious correlation between health and diet in France, which became known as the French Paradox. The French Paradox earned its name because even though the population ate a high-fat diet and participated in copious amounts of smoking, there were fewer deaths from heart disease in France. This observation resulted in the connection between the consumption of red wine and the lower incidence of heart disease.

It is found in wine, more in red wine than white, and also in apples, raspberries, blueberries, pistachios, plums, peanuts, and other medicinal and edible plants.

Resveratrol is also present in grape juice. But that isn’t nearly as fun is it?

  • Red wine’s resveratrol is also an antioxidant.  

Resveratrol is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are essential to your health because they remove potentially harmful oxidizing agents that are in your body. In other words, they protect your cells from free radicals, which are produced when processing food, when you are exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation. Free radicals could contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease and cancer.

Resveratrol is a natural chemical you can find in plants, a group of phytochemicals called polyphenols. In plants, they fight off ultraviolet radiation or other damaging entities. They do the same in your body.

In addition to its antioxidant properties, resveratrol is instrumental in protecting the linings of the blood vessels, which are called the endothelium. Per the Mayo Clinic, resveratrol inhibits damage to blood vessels, prevents clotting, and serves to reduce some of the harmful cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, aka the “LDLs”), which can cause artery damage.

  • Drinking a glass of red wine could have the same benefits as one hour at the gym.

In 2016, a new study from the University of Alberta, Canada suggested the resveratrol has the same effects on the body as exercise does.Previous research indicated that a glass of red wine a day was beneficial for brain health, cancer prevention, heart health, slowing the aging process, and supporting blood sugar processing and regulation. When combined with these benefits, the researchers thought a glass of red wine could replace exercise for their patients that were unable to for physical reasons.

Does that mean you should quit going to the gym? Nope.

How about drinking a bottle of wine a day to really maximize those health benefits? Also, nope. The research also shows that the amount we would need to drink to completely replace the benefits of wine is more than a human should drink, ever.

However, if you do want to boost your levels of resveratrol, you could eat more berries, regular grapes, and—in what can only be described as more good news—dark chocolate. Again, though…moderation.

  • A glass of red wine is a low Glycemic beverage.

The Glycemic Index (GI) measures how much your blood sugar rises when you consume food. On a scale from 1 to 100, foods and drinks that score 70 and above are high GI foods, and those scoring under 55 are low GI, with the remainder falling into the moderate range.

Per Livestrong, high GI foods burn fast and lead to hunger faster, while low GI foods stay with you a while. When you eat a lot of foods with a high GI, your blood sugar rises and can result in inflammation. Most dietitians and fitness experts agree that a diet with nutrient dense, slow-burning low GI foods is the way to go.

A 5 oz glass of red wine scores a big fat zero on the GI. So, as far as the GI scale goes, red wine gets two enthusiastic thumbs up.

However, there are a couple of things you should know about red wine. First, those five ounces of red wine have carbs (3.8 grams) and sugar (.9 grams) and has around 125 calories.Also, it’s alcohol, so all the regular cautions are in play here.

Some essential caveats exist regarding resveratrol and wine. It is unclear how much of the antioxidant is present in red wine, and the concentration varies drastically in the different varieties of wine. Also, experts agree that more research is needed to create a conclusive link between resveratrol and its health benefits.

So, the rumors are true. Red wine is good for you, as long as it is consumed in moderation. Not only that, but it is also so much better for you than pork rinds and cheese.

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