Wednesday, February 4, 2015

5 Health Benefits of Drinking Red Wine

February is American Heart Month; the perfect time to remind you that, according to the American Heart Association Journal, a glass of red wine, once a day, has been found to be beneficial to your heart health.

The advantages of red wine have been known for a long time. The Copenhagen City Heart Study began in 1976 to study the benefits of wine, Harvard researchers found that moderate alcohol consumption was one of "eight proven ways to reduce coronary heart disease risk" in 1982, and The French Paradox, dealing with the benefits of resveratrol, was first discussed in the late 1980s.

Red wine is the favored type of vino since research has shown that resveratrol is a key ingredient found in red grape skins.

Four Ounces
While we’re told that moderate consumption of red wine offers several health benefits, we're also told to drink “in moderation.” So how much is considered to be “moderate consumption?”

According to the American Heart Association Journal (AHA), “This means an average of one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. (A drink is one 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits, or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits.)”

So what are the health benefits of red wine and resveratrol? Here are just a few:

1) Red wine offers cardiovascular protection by reducing the accumulation of fatty plaques in the blood vessels, thereby helping to reduce cell death. The Mayo Clinic reported that antioxidants in wine might help prevent heart disease “by increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the good Cholesterol and protecting against artery damage.”

Harvard Graphic of Resveratrol
2) Resveratrol, found in red wine may be the key to preventing blood vessel damage and stopping blood clots from forming according to scientists at the University of Ulm in Germany. And that can prevent cardiovascular disease.

3) The University of Missouri School of Medicine said that resveratrol could also 
be useful in treating cancer. More studies are underway.

4) Researchers believe that resveratrol might also decrease obesity and be beneficial in treating Type 2 diabetes.

5) Resveratrol has also proven to be useful in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. 

Although studies have shown that any type of alcoholic beverage can be beneficial, it seems that red wine does offers additional advantages. Again, resveratrol is considered to be the magic component. But besides wine, resveratrol can also be found in dark chocolate, berries and peanuts. Or you can purchase resveratrol supplements and by-pass the wine and food altogether. Americans are currently spending over $30 million per year on these supplements to increase longevity.

Of course, there is always the other side; John Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers reported last year in JAMA Internal Medicine they’d found no evidence that certain foods or wine were better for you just because they contained resveratrol. However, the report did state any benefits of drinking wine, eating dark chocolate or berries, if they are there, must come from other shared ingredients.” They’re just not sure which ones.

While red wine and chocolate won’t save your life, separately or in combination, they can make your life more pleasurable, and that in turn helps reduce stress. The other benefits may be “the icing on the cake” and that seems like a Wine-Win to me!

~ Joy