“Are there any health benefits of wine?” Consciously or not, we all have pondered upon this question while pouring ourselves a second glass of pinot noir. Turns out, wine is actually full of surprising health benefits. In fact, there are scientific researches that proved drinking wine in moderation can be actually good for health. Right from a healthy heart to longer life, wine has a lot to offer. When it comes to the benefits of wine, the topic has always been up for debate however, multiple studies have shown moderate consumption of red wine can actually help in the prevention of various chronic diseases. But, remember the key word here is moderation. Wine has benefits when consumed in moderation, however excessive wine is actually dangerous.
Before we dive right into the expansive world of benefits of wine, let us discuss wine and its types. Let’s talk wine!
What is wine?
Wine is a very popular alcoholic beverage that is made up of fermented grape juice. Apart from grapes, a number of wines are also made up of apples, cranberries, plums, or other fruits but their names usually vary. So, when a bottle says wine, it’s usually fermented grape juice but with significant alcoholic content. It is important to understand wine grapes are not the same as standard table grapes that we usually consume. Wine grapes usually include white grapes, (green in appearance) or black grapes, (red or purple in appearance.) There are a variety of wines that usually depend on the type of grapes used, along with several other factors like the aging duration, the bottle aging process, the climate and so much more. Read on to find out about different types of wine.
Red wine is made by fermenting black grapes with the grape skin. The most common red wines that you’re most likely to encounter are Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Merlot.
White wine is made up of both white and black grapes that’s because the grapes in the making of white wine are fermented without the skin. This is the reason white wine is pale in color and low in tannins. The most common white wines that you’re most likely to encounter are Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Chardonnay.
Interestingly, initially, rosé is made like red wine with fermented black grape juice along with the skins, but the tricky part is the skins are extracted only after a short span of time. This results in a beautiful blush color which is a classic characteristic of a rose.
Any of the above wines when carbonated are referred to as sparkling wine. That means a sparkling wine can be white, rosé, or even red. Bubbles are a common characteristic feature of sparkling wine. The most common white wines that you’re most likely to encounter are Champagne, Cava, Prosecco, and Lambrusco.
- Dessert wines and Fortified wines
Dessert wines and fortified wines are frequently grouped together because they both are sweeter than the other wines. Also, both are usually served at the end of the meal. Dessert wine is an extensive category. Every sweet wine that’s served after the meal can be called a dessert wine. However, fortified wines are made with the addition of a distilled spirit like brandy which makes them high in alcohol content. Therefore, fortified wine is a type of dessert wine.
Which wine is the healthiest? (In moderation)
After we have discussed the different types of wine it is natural to question, which is the healthiest wine. Research claims that red wines are comparatively healthier than other types of wine. That is because red wines have grape skins which means it contains more resveratrol than other wines. Resveratrol is one of the heart-healthy antioxidants found in grape seeds and skin and is heart-healthy. It is important to remember that, while red wine is richer in resveratrol than other wines, it is not recommended by healthcare experts to start drinking alcohol for its heart benefits. Resveratrol can also be consumed by simply choosing grapes or grape juice instead of wine which is an alcohol-rich grape drink.
What are the benefits of wine?
Whether it’s a dinner with clients, a housewarming party, or even a birthday, you can never go wrong with a bottle of wine. In fact, wine has been an important part of social, religious, and even cultural occasions for years. But, what if we tell you this alcoholic beverage actually has health benefits? Recent scientific studies have uncovered that there are benefits of wine when consumed in moderation. Right from reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer, to actually lowering cholesterol, wine (particularly red wine) has real health benefits. Read on to find out all 15 unbelievable health benefits of drinking wine.
15 Health benefits of wine you must know about:
1. Delivers antioxidants
Red wines that are made up of darker grapes are particularly high in antioxidants like resveratrol, catechin, epicatechin, and proanthocyanidins. Resveratrol and proanthocyanidins are what particularly add to the health benefits of red wine. Antioxidants in red wines work to defend the cells against the detrimental effects of free radicals. This has a strong role in boosting overall immunity and skin health. Yes, resveratrol is an antioxidant that is known to inhibit the growth of acne-causing bacteria. Among several benefits of red wine for skin, it can actually give you clear skin. Isn’t that amazing?
2. Lowers cholesterol
Recent studies have proved that red wines when consumed in moderation have the power to lower bad cholesterol. Red wines like Rioja are particularly consumed to decline bad cholesterol levels.
3. Promotes heart health
Along with the regulation of cholesterol levels, red wines are said to promote overall heart health. As unbelievable as it sounds red wine is good for your heart. One of the antioxidants red wines contain is known as polyphenols. These have the power to keep the blood vessels healthy and flexible which in turn prevents any undesirable clotting. It is important to remember anything more than moderate levels is actually harmful to the heart.
4. Regulation of blood sugar levels
Resveratrol, which is a natural antioxidant found in grape skin has the power to regulate blood sugar levels. One of the studies regarding resveratrol shows, that people who consumed around 250 mg of resveratrol every day for about three months had a significantly lower glucose level than people who did not. The study also revealed lowered cholesterol levels and better management of blood pressure in people who consumed resveratrol on a regular basis.
5. Lowers the risk of cancer
Relatively moderate consumption of red wine is also known to actually reduce the risks of various types of cancers namely, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and ovarian cancer among many other. Studies have shown resveratrol works in the obstruction of the cancer-aiding protein.
6. Helps in the treatment of common cold
Antioxidants fight free radicals and boost overall immunity. They even help in the treatment and prevention of the common cold. Red wine is particularly rich in antioxidants which help in the treatment of a cold.
7. Sharpens memory
Red wine benefits memory. Wines, particularly red wines are rich in resveratrol which interferes with the formation of the beta-amyloid protein. This protein is a fundamental element when it comes to the onset of Alzheimer’s. While sharpening memory is one of the important benefits of wine, it is important to keep in mind that overconsuption can actually do more harm than good.
8. Helps with weight management
Another exciting benefit of wine is that it helps in the management of weight. Red wines are typically rich in resveratrol which has a characteristic feature of checking the weight. Resveratrol is rich in a chemical compound called piceatannol that works to effectively reduce fat cells in the body. Piceatannol is also known to fasten the insulin receptors of your fat cells which actually blocks the growth of immature fat cells. Red wine is also known to reduce appetite which certainly doesn’t mean wine for weight loss is a solution alone.
9. Declines the risk of depression
While we all knew an occasional glass of wine can fix a headache but research shows that relatively moderate amounts of alcohol are known to lower the risk of depression. It can be said that people who consume red wine can actually protect themselves from depression. Of course, it is important to understand while it is an important benefit of red wine, only consumption of wine can not be a real solution when it comes to the treatment of depression. Depression is a serious problem and you must seek help if serious.
10. Improves gut health and digestion
Red wines are anti-bacterial in nature which makes them capable of treating any stomach irritation along with certain other digestive disorders. Along with that, wine consumption is also known to lower the risk of infection from Helicobacter pylori, which is a common stomach bacterium.
11. Helps in the management of Type 2 diabetes
A 2015 study proves that drinking a glass of red wine along with your dinner can help in decreasing the cardiometabolic risk for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Another study shows that the ethanol content in wine works to metabolize glucose. While a moderate intake of red wine is safe, it is important to discuss any major changes in the diet with your healthcare professional.
12. Reduces the risk of vision loss
Another benefit of red wine, particularly resveratrol in red wine is that it helps in the prevention of vision loss that might occur due to inflammation or oxidative stress as proven by a 2016 study. It also protects from any age-related eye conditions that may lead to vision loss like cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration.
13. Helps in the prevention of neurodegenerative conditions
According to a study conducted in 2018, people who entirely abstained from consuming wine are more at risk of dementia (which is a neurodegenerative condition) as compared to people who moderately consume wine. That is because red wines are rich in polyphenols and other compounds contain neuroprotective effects.
14. Boosts bone density
While it is natural for the bones to go brittle with age, a good diet, and a healthy lifestyle actually slow down that process. Along with that, moderate consumption of red when can actually help in boosting bone health. That’s because wine is rich in silicon which is fantastic for mineral bone density. This helps in preventing illnesses like osteoporosis.
You’d be glad to know, that if you are moderately drinking red wine, you might live a longer life than those who don’t. Simply because wine is full of benefits and actually boosts immunity which protects from chronic diseases and helps live a longer, healthier life. In fact, research suggests that when consumed in moderation, red wine can actually boost the growth of longevity-related genes while improving overall metabolic health.
Moderate wine consumption: How much wine is moderate wine?
Across the entire article discussing the benefits of wine, the term moderation came up multiple times. So, how much wine consumption is moderate consumption? In other words, what is the safe quantity of wine one should drink to incorporate the benefits without any side effects of alcohol? Ideally, a healthy adult can drink up to 1 glass of wine a day (for women) and 1 to 2 glasses of wine a day (for men.) However, it is advised to skip days if consumed regularly. In fact, wine can be consumed in even lesser quantities in various dishes and recipes as well.
Risks of excessive wine consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption can have a number of negative effects on the body. In fact, according to the CDC reports excessive alcohol consumption has led to approximately 140,000 deaths in the United States that’s just between the years 2015 to 2019. These deaths included people around the age of mere 26 years. Moreover, the report shows that 1 out of every 10 adult deaths (aged 20–64) have been due to excessive drinking.
Short-term risks of excessive wine or alcohol consumption:
- Injuries due to lack of balance or blackouts
- Violent behavior due to lowered inhibitions
- Unsafe sexual behavior that may lead to undesirable or dangerous consequences
- Miscarriage or fetal alcohol disorder
Long-term risks of excessive wine or alcohol consumption:
- Heart diseases or stroke
- Fatty liver disease
- Liver damage or long-term liver damage like liver cirrhosis
- More risk of developing mental health conditions or memory-related problems.
- Increased risk of cancers
While there are benefits of wine when consumed in moderation, wine in excessive amounts can be extremely harmful to health. It is important to remember wine or alcohol consumption is not safe for children, and teenagers, along with pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. If you enjoy an occasional glass of wine, you can incorporate certain unexpected health benefits like weight management, clear skin, a healthy heart, and better immunity, among many others. However, any benefit that you can incorporate from wine can be incorporated via grapes or grape juice without any risk of alcohol addiction.