In many cultures, it has long been tradition to have a glass of red wine with meals, and it turns out that there are some serious health benefits to the moderate drinking of red wine. While this has often been considered a traditional bit of knowledge that a glass a day keeps the doctor away (see it’s not just apples), more and more studies are showing that there are some serious health and wellness benefits that come with drinking red wine.
Our Top 7 Red Wine Health Benefits
1. Heart Healthy
One of the major benefits that red wine has consistently been reported to have is its ability to help protect the heart and encourage top-notch heart health in light to moderate red wine drinkers. Red wine does this in multiple ways, as polyphenols, resveratrol, and quercetin are all common compounds found in red wine that are all considered to be heart-protective antioxidants.
These help keep your heart valves flexible, discourages unwanted clotting in the body, and has many of the same positive benefits that taking aspirin can provide. Then there are also the other benefits that indirectly help heart health, which we dive into more down below.
2. May Lower Bad Cholesterol
In addition to the positive heart benefits, red wine has been shown in multiple studies to have a positive effect in lowering a person’s levels of bad cholesterol. This effect is especially strong in red wines that use the Tempranillo red grapes, which are most commonly thriving in vineyards throughout the wine-making regions of Spain.
A specific study done in Madrid showed that even among healthy people the levels of bad cholesterol dropped 9% on average and for individuals who already had high cholesterol, they saw a drop of 12% total for even more benefit. Time to pick up that glass a night habit!
3. Can Control Blood Sugar
The compound resveratrol, found in red wine and the skins of the grapes that are used to create it, have also been shown to have some positive health benefits when it comes to controlling the body’s blood sugar. This is doubly helpful for diabetics and gives them another tool to help keep those all-important levels in safe zones and prevent the heavy swings that can cause really serious health issues.
There are some theories that this is done through helping to control insulin secretion, although the exact mechanism isn’t known yet. Whatever the hormones or antioxidants that cause this to work, the control of blood sugar along with the benefits from lowering bad cholesterol and protecting the heart really paints a picture of just how good red wine is for your overall heart and metabolic health.
4. Brain Booster
Some of the antioxidants found in red wine in general, and resveratrol in particular, have been shown in a variety of university studies to have some impressive positive effects when it comes to boosting the brain in general and memory in particular. This is good for memory for individuals of almost any age, but in particular, it shows some serious promise for help in stopping some of the major negative effects that contribute to dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
In fact, this compound has been revealed in controlled studies to help slow beta-amyloid from forming in a person’s body. That protein is widely known for being a key ingredient in the type of brain plaque that is found in people suffering from Alzheimer’s. So raise a glass of red in celebration of your memory, and you may even be helping to keep your mind together in the future.
5. Cancer Prevention?
Red vino doesn’t just block the protein molecule that helps to cause brain plaque, but if studies at the University of Virginia are to be believed, a common compound in most red wine has also been shown to inhibit the growth of nascent cancer cells in the body. This is a powerful potential way to stop cancer from growing and help prevent new cells from exploding into cancer in the body.
For individuals whose families have a history of cancer or who live in an area with environmental factors that can contribute to abnormally high rates of cancer, this change in diet by adding a few glasses of wine could prove to have some major beneficial health benefits. This seems to have the strongest positive results among individuals who drank 3-5 glasses a week.
6. May Help with Weight Loss
You don’t want to go overboard with this, but red wine in reasonable moderate amounts has been shown in some cases to help aid weight loss. Why? There are a couple potential reasons beyond the increased blood sugar control that was already mentioned earlier in this article. Both laboratory studies as well as a university study that was published from Purdue University seem to point to the fact that aside from its other health benefits, red wine has a compound (this time it’s not resveratrol, but piceatannol) that helps prevent new fat cells from forming as well as blocking an immature fat cell from developing and growing.
In addition to this, these red wine compounds help with various metabolic processes in the body. In moderate amounts, this means the red wine helps by binding to insulin receptors that are found within the fat cell itself, blocking it off from growing. Since these fat cells can’t grow, the person won’t be able to gain more weight from those particular cells.
At the end of the day a glass a day could prove beneficial, but keep in mind drinking too much means the sugar and calories found in wine can eventually outweigh the positive weight loss benefits that you would otherwise benefit from. However, don’t be afraid to add a glass a day, something that some popular diets (like Tim Ferriss’s slow-carb diet) already allow even when all other liquid calories or carbs are prohibited.
7. Overall Longer Life
This benefit only works when the keywords “in moderation” are put into play. While heavy drinking has been shown to increase a person’s chances of heart disease or cancer in later life, moderate drinkers outlive those who abstain completely. When you focus on a particularly healthy drink like red wine, some light to moderate drinking gives you an overall longer life and that’s even in addition to all these other proven health benefits.
Having the occasional glass of red wine not only allows you a healthier life, but a longer one, as well, and who doesn’t want that? A healthier life is always a good one, especially when looking at adding years to make a life longer.
Final Thoughts – Moderation is Key
As with many things, moderation is the key here. While it’s undeniable that red wine offers some truly outstanding health benefits, those quickly get outweighed by the negatives of too much alcohol. A glass a day of red wine is plenty, and an occasional second is just fine. These benefits don’t apply to all alcohol, which goes to show just how amazing red wine is not only compared to other types of alcohol like white wine, liquor, or beer, also how it really stands on its own.
Red wine is an incredible drink and one that only continues to be proven to have great health benefits. Light drinkers and moderate drinkers who stick to red wine will find that a reasonable amount can do amazing things to help the overall health and bring some serious long-term benefits. So don’t feel bad about adding a glass to a meal or to wind down at night – there are definitely huge benefits to doing so!