A Glass A Day: Top Health Benefits Of Drinking Wine

A Glass A Day: Top Health Benefits Of Drinking Wine

You’ve probably heard of the saying “A glass of red wine a day keeps the doctor away”. Indeed, people have been drinking wine for thousands of years, and the benefits of raising a glass (in moderation, of course) have been well documented over the years. From improved heart health to a boost of cancer-fighting antioxidants, our beloved Vino has more powerful health properties than you might think — and it’s delicious, too. 

The next time you’re reaching for some quality bottles of Sauvignon Blanc, let science help you make up your mind. Today, we share 6 top health benefits of drinking wine, including the latest research and everything you should know about making the best choice the next time you indulge in a tipple. Read on to find out more! 

  • Improved Heart Health

Did you know that numerous evidence based studies over the last 50 years have all unanimously concluded that moderate drinking is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease? In fact, the risk of cardiovascular events was significantly reduced by 13% with wine consumption up to 0.5 L/d (defined as moderate consumption). For reference, a recent analysis of studies found the optimal daily intake of wine to be 1 glass (150 ml) for women and 2 glasses (300 ml) for men each day. 

Now, back to the cardiovascular talk. The most notable disease-fighting compounds in red wine are resveratrol and proanthocyanidins. Some research also suggests that the powerful antioxidants in red wine, also known as polyphenols, help to reduce (bad) LDL cholesterol while retaining good HDL cholesterol, and may even aid in reducing  blood pressure when consumed in moderation. But more about that in the next point. 

  • Wine Is Rich In Cancer-Fighting Antioxidants

You’ve probably heard of antioxidants before — they’re found in blueberries, spinach, broccoli, goji berries, dark chocolate and of course, wine. Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against free radicals that play a role in developing cancer and other harmful diseases. In the simplest of terms, they work by tracking down free radicals and neutralising their harmful effects. Grapes that are used to produce wine are incredibly high in those polyphenols we talked about in the last point — antioxidants that have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. 

Because red grapes are higher in antioxidants such as resveratrol, epicatechin, catechin, and proanthocyanidins compared to their white counterparts, drinking a moderate amount of red wine on a daily basis may increase your blood antioxidant levels to a greater extent than drinking white wine. However, with that said, both varieties do still contain a significant amount of antioxidants, so feel free to stick to your preference! 

  • Get Happier Gut Bacteria

Gut bacteria, also known as gut microbiota, gut microbiome, or gut flora, have a number of important functions such as breaking down food, maintaining blood sugar, manufacturing vitamins and training our immune system. Many of us know that we should eat more probiotics-rich foods such as yoghurt, kombucha and sauerkraut for their natural gut-health benefits, but the good news is you can add your favourite glass of wine to that list, too! 

Because wine is a naturally fermented product, it also contains the same probiotic properties of the lactic-acid bacteria that is found in foods like dairy products, sauerkraut and olives, fruits and cereals. Moreover, lactic acid can also protect you from constipation and other gastrointestinal issues such as D-IBS.

Note: Do note that the research into the potential probiotic and gut health benefits of red wine is still relatively limited, but results so far are more than encouraging. 

  • A Sharper Mind

While a few glasses of wine after a long and tiring day certainly does the job of clearing your mind, new research shows that it may actually help clean the mind as well. As counterproductive as it may seem, recent studies have found that regular wine drinkers are at lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive decline. 

It has been discovered that low to moderate levels of alcohol consumption tamp down inflammation and help the brain clear away toxins, including those associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The flavonoids found  in wine may also play a part in protecting your body’s cells that support healthy blood vessels — a key physiological benefit that may aid in improving blood flow to the brain and prevent harmful plaque from developing.

  • A Glass To Regulate Your Blood Sugar Levels

Another proven benefit of drinking wine is the positive role it can play in regulating blood sugar/glucose levels. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, drinking red wine — or any alcoholic beverage — can lower blood sugar for up to 24 hours. This is mainly due to resveratrol, a natural phytoalexin compound found in grape skin.

If you are diabetic or simply looking to balance out your blood sugar levels for any particular reason, we suggest avoiding low-alcohol wines that often have more sugar than regular varieties. To prevent hypoglycemia, however, it’s important that you make sure you don’t drink on an empty stomach. Always have healthy food handy while you are drinking and be sure to keep an eye on your blood sugar. 

  • It’ll Benefit Your Waistline

We know what you’re thinking…wine is going to help me lose weight? Surely that can’t be! Well, think again. Research has found that wine, when consumed in moderation, may provide some protective effects against weight gain. A large part of this is due to the amazing cancer preventative agent resveratrol which we’ve talked about so much in this article. 

Basically, the chemical compound piceatannol which is converted from resveratrol has been found to inhibit adipogenesis of human adipose mesenchymal stem cells. In simpler terms, piceatannol may help to prevent immature fat cells from growing. Moreover, the average glass of wine contains only around 120-150 calories, a far cry from other cocktails and alcoholic beverages such as the classic Long Island Tea that can often add up to anywhere between 500-750 calories, depending on the ingredients used. 

How Much Is Healthy?

Before you jump with  joy and run down  to your local bottle shop, consider the importance of moderation. In the case of alcohol, less is always more. Generally, it is recommended that adults should limit wine or alcohol intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less in a day for women. This equates to 150ml for women and 300ml for men. This obviously excludes people who should be abstaining from alcohol like pregnant and nursing women, anyone under the legal drinking age, anyone taking medications, those operating heavy machinery or driving, and individuals with a past history of addiction or alcohol abuse. 

As Oscar Wilde once said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation”. 

And there you have it – 6 top benefits of drinking wine in healthy moderation. When combined with a healthy diet and exercise regime, a glass a day may very well keep the doctor away!