We drink it with a nice dinner. We covet it after a long day. When we gather for a celebration, it always finds its way to the table. Yes, we're talking about wine, the tasty, classy beverage that makes any occasion feel more special. Beyond the happiness and relaxation it provides, drinking wine in moderation is good for your wellness because of its many health benefits. We've all heard that a glass of wine here and there is good for you, but how exactly does it contribute to your health? There are a plethora of ways, from decreased mortality rate to attacking cancer cells. Along with being the perfect post-work treat, a little wine at the end of the day can go a long way when it comes to your health.
Before we talk health benefits, let's talk pour size. It can be hard to gauge what an appropriate pour size is given the varying sizes and shapes of wine glasses. While we may love our oversized wine glasses, medical experts don't consider that a proper pour.
A proper glass of wine is a 5-ounce pour. And when we say "moderate drinking," that means what is clinically considered to be healthy. For women, moderate consumption of red wine means one glass a day, and for men it's two. So keep that in mind as you enjoy your wine, since these health benefits only apply if you're drinking it in moderation.
1. It boosts the immune system
While you probably shouldn't stop taking your daily vitamins, drinking a glass of wine daily can give your immune system a boost. Moderate alcohol consumption can ward off infections and keep your immune system in check. Don't get too carried away, though. Excessive drinking can lead to negative effects that defeat the whole purpose or drinking wine for an immunity boost.
As explained by food scientist and chef Melissa Collins, "Among many health benefits, treating the common cold is one. That's because the presence of antioxidants like resveratrol, epicatechin, catechin, and proanthocyanidins in red wine boosts your immune system and keeps your cells healthy. So, you won't be prone to things like viral attacks."
2. It reduces the risk of heart disease
In the battle against heart disease, taking all necessary precautions is well worth it - especially when it involves wine. The tannins found in red wine contain procyanidins - polyphenols which neutralize free radicals - that have shown to be effective in preventing cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Casey, an MD with a focus on Family medicine and Medical Research says, "Red wine is a type of wine that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is fortified with certain ingredients, such as blood, lymph, and other vitamins, to improve its taste and health properties. The benefits of drinking red wine include better vision, heart health, and digestion. One of the most important health benefits of red wine is that it can help prevent heart disease. In fact, research has shown that people who drink red wine are three times as likely to have a low blood pressure as those who don't drink red wine."
So the lesson is, if you want a healthy heart, bite the bullet and drink a heart healthy glass of red wine. While the American Heart Association does not support alcohol intake for nondrinkers or those at risk of alcoholism, those who already imbibe may continue light drinking for positive heart health.
3. It lowers cholesterol
Have bad cholesterol and no dietary guidelines? Pour a bowl of your Cheerios in the morning and stick to wine at night. One of the best health benefits of red wine is the procyanidins, which promote a healthy heart and also will lower cholesterol.
When asked about the health benefits of red wine, Dr. Rosmy Barrios, an MD and Regenerative Medicine Specialist at Swiss Medica, said, "Consuming small amounts of quality red wine can be good for your health. True grape wine contains such beneficial substances as organic acids, antioxidants, vitamins B and C, magnesium, calcium, iron, and many more."
Barrios continued, "Such components can speed up metabolism, boost immunity and help improve the absorption of fatty foods. In addition, dry red wine strengthens blood vessel walls and improves blood circulation, reducing the chances of heart attacks. It has also been observed that consumers of red wine are less likely to suffer from overweight and cholesterol problems. Still, it's important to mention that excessive consumption of this drink is very dangerous: it can lead to depression, hypertension, stroke, and cancer."
Reservatrol also decreases LDL - bad cholesterol - while increasing the HDL - good cholesterol. This also means that red wine benefits blood pressure, so if you're suffering from high blood pressure, it's best to pour a glass. If you're having trouble keeping your cholesterol levels on the good side, sip on a daily glass of medicinal red wine.
4. It reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Let's face it, diabetes flat out sucks. You can't indulge in cravings without first considering the health repercussions that result in more than a larger waistline. The good news is that if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, wine may help.
The antioxidants in wine help to control weight, lowering the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Food scientist and chef Melissa Collins says, "these antioxidants, mainly resveratrol, also control weight and prevent obesity. That's because they reduce the growth of fat cells by fastening their insulin receptors and blocking pathways for immature fat cells to develop. As a result, contributing to an overall improved health and lifestyle."
Resveratrol has been proven to improve sensibility to insulin. With insulin resistance contributing to type 2 diabetes risk, a nice glass of wine makes the list of things you can enjoy.
Do yourself a favor, and pour a glass of wine and toast to your health.
This post was originally published on May 24, 2019.