Life can certainly be stressful at times, and a glass of wine at dinner or a couple glasses with some friends during a get together has long been a favorite way to have a break from the tension and anxiety of everyday life.
In fact, our human ancestors have been consuming different types of fermented and distilled alcoholic drinks for over 10 million years. In the specific case of wine, researchers on the island of Sicily recently found traces of wine stored in terracotta jars that date back to at least 4,000 BC.
While wine has been a staple of the culinary traditions and cultures of several different regions around the world for thousands of years, there has also been a generalized assumption that this is a tradition that, though it may bring a smile to our face, is not necessarily good for our health.
While excessive alcoholic consumption certainly does bring with it a host of negative health effects, recent research is finding that moderate consumption of wine has several health benefits.
Wine lovers around the world will certainly celebrate the health benefits that come with their favorite guilty pleasure.
- High in Antioxidants: We often hear that several types of healthy foods are high in antioxidants. Unfortunately, few of us have any idea what antioxidants do for our health and why they are good for us. Put in layman’s terms, antioxidants help to fight off “free radicals” which lead to several dangerous health problems including cardiovascular and inflammatory disease, cataracts, and even cancer. Wine lovers can rejoice in the fact that the high levels of phenols in wine are known to be extremely high in antioxidants, and thus help to combat these free radicals. When it comes to white wine vs red wine, a recent study by a Spanish university found that white wine has higher levels of phenols, and thus higher in important antioxidants.
- Lower Cardiovascular Risk: Perhaps more importantly, people who have a deep-seated love for wine will be happy to know that a glass of wine a day is also known to be good for cardiovascular health. While both white wine or red wine are considered to be good for your heart, red wine especially brings health benefits to the most important muscle in your body. One recent study by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that people who had 1-2 glasses of wine a day were 25-30% less likely to have any sort of cardiovascular health issue in the future.
- Improved Liver Health: While most people know that heavy drinking can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, a reasonable and modest amount of red wine consumption can actually improve your overall liver health. Not only is drinking wine safe for your liver, it could also potentially reduce the risk for Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). One study has shown that people who drink one glass of wine per day are 50% less likely to suffer from NAFLD. One of the things to avoid if you love wine, however, is to mix your nightly cup of wine with a glass of beer or a shot of alcohol. People who prefer mixing these drinks have four times the likelihood of suffering from NAFLD.
- It is Good for Your Brain: Another unique benefit that will bring a smile is that a glass a day of wine, and especially red wine, is reportedly good for brain health. Not only does that glass of wine help you clear your mind, but it also helps to lessen brain inflammation that could lead to chronic neurological diseases down the road. Furthermore, wine can help clear toxins from several important regions of the brain, including toxins that are known to cause Alzheimer’s disease.
- Unique Way to Prevent Diabetes: An excessive amount of sugar intake is certainly not good for people who are classified as at risk for diabetes. While you might want to avoid excessively sweet wines, dry red wines, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz/Syrah, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, or Cabernet Franc, are found to decrease cardiometabolic risk in people who suffer from type-2 diabetes. Additionally, the moderate levels of ethanol in wine can help to metabolize glucose, thus helping the body to naturally fend off the onset of diabetes.
A Few Other Advantageous Health Benefits
While all of the above-listed health benefits of a glass of wine a day are certainly significant, the list of health advantages with moderate wine consumption goes on and on, including:
- Red wine has high levels of resveratrol, an important anti-aging antioxidant. Combined with the benefits of red wine as a stress-reliever, this can lead to combatting free radicals that lead to aging and age-related diseases.
- While wine has long been associated with a drink for romantic occasions, red wine is also known to increase the amount of testosterone in men, thus helping to improve sex life around the world.
- Lastly, wine can also help you meet your weight loss goals. A recent study found that resveratrol can help you convert the fat in your body into the type of fat that is easier to burn.
So, next time that you sit down with a glass of wine after a tiring day at work, there is no reason to feel remorseful or worried about your health. A glass of fine wine after a long day at work is seen by many as a great way to relax and unwind. Rather, that glass of wine might actually be doing wonders for your body while simultaneously helping you to relax. These reasons would be enough to raise a glass of wine and also to cut down doctor’s bill!! (Smirk)
About the author
Sara O Brown is a working mom, lives with her dentist husband and her adorable dog, Casper. She is passionate about traveling and cooking.