Resveratrol in red wine can also prevent the immature fat cells from maturing. It can also activate a protein called sirtuin 1, which protects the heart from inflammation.
According to another study by the Israel Institute of Technology, red wine can enhance the health of the cells in the blood vessels. As per the report, regular (and moderate) red wine consumption for 21 days can significantly enhance vascular endothelial function. But, we want to stress again, moderation is the key. And in no way do we want to promote alcohol. A glass of wine here and there is okay. Or if you are going out on the weekend and having a few drinks with dinner. But practice moderation.
Red wine also dilates the arteries. And in terms of the health benefits, two glasses of red wine are the same as five liters of fruit juice. But if you are someone with an alcohol problem, red wine is not the way to go about it.
As per another Indian study, quercetin, another red wine polyphenol, exhibits cardioprotective properties. The wine was also found to promote the regression of blood pressure. Wine drinkers were also found to have higher levels of good cholesterol than their counterparts. The study concludes that red wine, as a diet supplement, can be beneficial for the heart. But mind you, only as a diet supplement.
Another American study states that the resveratrol in red wine can prevent the age-related decline in cardiovascular function. And as per another Italian study, though red wine has its benefits, we don’t know its effects on nondrinkers. Hence, this post doesn’t ask nondrinkers to start taking red wine to get its benefits, but asks heavy drinkers to limit its intake to obtain its benefits. And nondrinkers can get their share of resveratrol through grapes as well.
Talking about the healthy dosage, men can limit their consumption to 1 to 2 drinks a day. And women can limit themselves to 1 drink a day. This is on the higher end, by the way. One ‘drink’ equals 118 ml of wine, or 355 ml of beer, or 44 ml of 80-proof spirits, or 30 ml of 100-proof spirits.
And if you are looking for a wine that is healthiest for the heart, go for Pinot Noir – the grapes grown for this red wine come from wet and cold environments. This means, the healthiest parts of the fruit are kept the freshest.
Though we know moderate red wine consumption can prevent heart disease, what we don’t know is if it can reverse an existent condition. We require more research in that aspect.
2. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
In addition to raising good cholesterol levels, the resveratrol in red wine can also lower the levels of bad cholesterol. But according to the National Cholesterol Education Program, lowering the consumption of trans fat and getting exercise every day could be better ways of keeping your cholesterol levels in check.
Studies say that a daily glass of red wine for four weeks can elevate good cholesterol levels by 16 percent, and reduce the amount of fibrinogen (a clotting compound) by 15 percent. It is particularly the alcohol in the wine that provides these benefits, which may not be achieved by just any red grape extract. Other studies say that though red wine is protective, other forms of alcohol may not have similar beneficial effects.
Red wine can help if you have dark meat. It prevents the release of harmful compounds in dark meat that could raise cholesterol levels. And as per a Brazilian study, red wine might help prevent plaque formation, which is a direct consequence of increased cholesterol.
Not only does red wine increase good cholesterol, but it also makes the particles bigger. Big and fluffy versions of HDL are great news for the heart.
3. Helps Fight Diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association, drinking red wine can lower your blood sugar for up to 24 hours. But that aside, there is some research that shows how red wine can help diabetics.
As per a recent study, moderate red wine consumption can reduce the risk of heart disease in patients with type 2 diabetes. But apart from moderation, what diabetics (the ones on medication, especially) must also consider is the time of day when they consume the wine.
More interestingly, as per a study, people who consumed wine three to four times a week were 30% less likely to develop diabetes than those who drank less than once a week. The credit could be given to the polyphenols in red wine, which may help manage blood sugar levels. However, the doctors involved in the study don’t recommend their patients to start drinking just to reduce the risk of diabetes. One must also know that different types of alcohol can have different effects on blood sugar levels. For example, beer can raise blood sugar while hard drinks can dangerously lower the levels.
It is important to take your diabetes case seriously because the statistics are alarming. According to the WHO reports, the number of diabetes patients has increased rapidly – from 108 million registered cases in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. Diabetes can also cause stroke, kidney failure, heart disease, and lower limb amputation.
Another study has confirmed that taking a glass of red wine every night might cut the risk of diabetes. It suggests that the non-alcoholic constituents of red wine could be given credit for its antidiabetic properties. And as per another Ukraine study conducted on diabetic rats, red wine and its polyphenols show great promise in treating and even preventing diabetes. Tannic acid, one of the non-alcoholic compounds in red wine, can also aid in diabetes treatment.
Red wine is one of the richest dietary sources of resveratrol, which, as per a study, can improve the health of diabetics’ arteries.
If you are in a dilemma as to take red wine or white wine for diabetes treatment, here goes your answer – in one study, red wine could inhibit the activity of alpha-glucosidase (an enzyme that triggers the absorption of glucose by the small intestine) by nearly 100 percent, while white wine could achieve so by only as much as 20 percent. Red wine also contains 10 times more polyphenolics than white wine, which could be responsible for this desirable effect.
Red wine also contains 13 times more resveratrol than white wine (because red wine ferments for a longer time with the grape skins). Research shows that the post-meal spike in sugar levels is one of the biggest reasons for inflammation, which often leads to diabetes. But if you have a glass of red wine with your evening meal, your blood sugar levels would be about 30% lower than if you hadn’t taken the wine.
But it is important to consider the words of Dr. Emily Burns, Head of Research Communications at Diabetes UK, who says that although the studies are interesting, the results should not be seen as a green light to drink lots of alcohol.
4. Fights Cancer
According to a report by the University of Rochester Medical Center, the resveratrol in red wine can destroy pancreatic cancer cells. The antioxidant achieves this by crippling the function of the cells’ core energy source (also called the mitochondria).
In fact, the importance of red wine during cancer treatment is so much that doctors wouldn’t advise the patient to give up on red wine if (s)he is already taking it (in moderation, obviously). Research suggests resveratrol not only destroys the malignant cells but also protects the normal tissue from the detrimental effects of radiation.
More interestingly, pancreatic cells are particularly resistant to chemotherapy. This is because the organ usually pumps powerful digestive enzymes into the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine right behind the stomach). This natural pumping process of the pancreas can even rid the needed chemotherapy from the cells. But what’s fascinating is that the resveratrol in red wine can also reduce the power available to pump the chemotherapy out of the cell.
Research has also revealed that individuals who take at least a glass of red wine a week are less likely to suffer from bowel cancer than nondrinkers or drinkers of spirits or beers.
Resveratrol also makes the cancer cells more sensitive by obstructing the proteins that otherwise inhibit chemotherapy treatment. And the concentration of resveratrol in red wine can be as high as 30 micrograms/ml.
As per a Chinese study, red wine polyphenols can also inhibit the proliferation of colon cancer cells. The wine was also found to be better than white wine in breast cancer treatment. Apart from resveratrol, another compound called myricetin in red wine gives it its cancer-preventive properties. And in mice studies, red wine polyphenols were found to delay the onset of tumors. Another Spanish study suggests that red wine is negatively associated with the development of lung cancer – although further research is warranted.
One report published by Harvard Medical School emphasizes on the possibility of red wine preventing prostate cancer. Men who consume moderate amounts of red wine are only half as likely to suffer from prostate cancer than those who don’t drink it at all. Researchers assume that the resveratrol in the beverage might work against the male hormones that stimulate the prostate gland. Red wine can also lower the risk of certain advanced and aggressive cancers by as much as 60 percent.
And as per researchers from the University of Colorado, if you are going to drink alcohol, choose red wine.
But there’s some contradictory evidence too – which is as important. One report states that red wine can, conversely, increase cancer risk. This could be attributed to the alcoholic content in the wine. So we recommend you take your doctor’s advice at least in this aspect – as cancer is not an everyday ailment that we can take a chance at. Also, to reduce the ill effects of alcohol, you can add a low-calorie mixer to your drink or have a glass of water in between each drink. Of course, the best way is to practice moderation or to quit altogether.
5. Prevents Obesity
Research says that resveratrol in red wine can convert the bad fat into calorie-burning brown fat. And diets containing the antioxidant can help combat obesity. Resveratrol enhances the oxidation of dietary fats and prevents the body from getting overloaded. It converts white fat into brown fat (also called beige fat) that burns off as heat – thereby preventing obesity and metabolic dysfunction.
But it is important to note that certain wine brands, especially merlot and cabinet sauvignon, contain a fraction of resveratrol that is found in grapes. This is because most of the beneficial polyphenols are insoluble and filtered out during the winemaking process. Though this may not be the case with all brands of red wine, it is important to inquire into the winemaking process from the seller. A little extra knowledge can help.
Red wine consumption can also reduce the damaging effects of smoking. It can reduce inflammation and the aging process in cells (triggered by an enzyme called telomerase), which usually accelerates post smoking.
As per another Spanish study, the polyphenols in red wine modulate the gut microbiota and help prevent metabolic diseases in obese individuals. These polyphenols can also prevent cardiac ailments associated with obesity.
According to a report by Purdue University, resveratrol gets converted into piceatannol post consumption. Piceatannol alters the way adipogenesis (the process where fat cells in the early stage become mature) happens – which means, the compound can delay or even inhibit adipogenesis. Piceatannol is also found in the skins of red grapes and their seeds, blueberries, and passion fruit.
But allow us to stress on this again – M-O-D-E-R-A-T-I-O-N. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, the calories and alcohol in red wine can promote weight gain and increase disease risk if taken in large amounts over the long term. They can cause cancer as well. Hence, limit consumption to 1 drink or less for women and 2 drinks or less for men. Per day.
6. Prevents High Blood Pressure And Stroke
One report by the Harvard Medical School recommends non-alcoholic red wine over the regular variety. The wine protects against artery damage, consequently lowering blood pressure. Also, consuming non-alcoholic red wine can elevate the nitric oxide levels in your blood. This is good news as nitric oxide relaxes the walls of the blood vessels, encouraging better blood flow. However, regular exercise and a proper diet are the best options on any given day.
Spanish researchers also say that the alcohol in red wine weakens its ability to lower blood pressure. So, non-alcoholic red wine could be the way to go.
Another way red wine can reduce blood pressure is by lowering stress. Stress can elevate your blood pressure levels, but a serving of red wine at night can help you relax.
A small glass of wine per day was also found to reduce the risk of ischemic stroke by 10 percent. Anything beyond that amount could be problematic – as alcohol can elevate blood pressure levels, causing stroke.
The resveratrol in red wine can also prompt the brain cells to defend themselves from free radicals, thereby preventing stroke. But more research is required – as not all types of red wine contain the same amounts of resveratrol. But otherwise, if you choose to drink, let red wine be the first choice – as it can protect the brain.
But again, we have contradictory evidence here – another set of researchers say that the blood pressure effects of red wine are the same as beer. And removing alcohol from red wine may not make a big difference. As per researchers, it’s a delicate balance. Men must drink less than 2 drinks per day; and women, not more than 1. Alcohol, when taken in moderation, can decrease the risk of blood clots – which might otherwise cause strokes. But yes, you got it – moderation is key.
In yet another study, it was found that red wine polyphenols didn’t lower blood pressure levels. The drink may not even have positive effects on hypertension. And another Australian study suggests that red wine might elevate blood pressure levels in normotensive men.
7. Promotes Longevity
Research done by French scientists reveals that the resveratrol in red wine can increase lifespan by as much as 60%. The antioxidant could also provide higher energy levels. Though the tests have been conducted on worms, researchers believe similar effects can be seen in humans. Resveratrol might activate an evolutionary stress response in human cells that might enhance longevity.
The antioxidant is found in some berries, grapes, peanuts, and cacao beans – it is produced in these plants as a response to stress. It is a naturally occurring phytoalexin (also called defender of the plant) that is produced in response to mechanical trauma (like an injury), ultraviolet light, or infection by fungi – it provides a means for defense (56). Research suggests that it can work similarly in humans as well.
An Italian study says that wine can increase lifespan by inducing longevity genes. And according to the Stanford Center on Longevity, resveratrol in red wine can protect our neurons from the undesirable effects of aging. However, the amount of resveratrol that you can get from red wine is quite small compared to that in a pill. If you should get a comparable amount of resveratrol from wine alone, you might have to drink 600 bottles of red wine per day. And that’s certainly not a good idea, right?
8. Reduces Stress
We have already seen this.
And yes, it is resveratrol again. This compound in red wine stimulates a particular protein that activates certain genes that repair DNA, suppresses the tumor genes, and promotes longevity genes. Basically, what we mean to say is a glass of red wine a day can help you stress less. The best way to achieve this is to have a glass of wine along with your dinner, and not right before sleep – this can have a calming effect on you without disturbing your sleep cycle.
But the stress-relieving effects of red wine are not applicable to pregnant women. Women who are expecting do undergo a lot of stress – and drinking red wine is not the best option to combat it. Alcohol, in any form, can be detrimental to the baby.
Comfort foods like cookies sure can relieve stress, but the downside is you crash. Fruits and vegetables, and red wine, of course, relieve stress and also offer antioxidants that can be beneficial.
9. Improves Bone Strength
One study published in the Oxford Academic Journal has revealed that resveratrol in red wine can improve spinal bone density in men suffering from metabolic syndrome. The study suggests that resveratrol positively affects the bone by stimulating formation or mineralization. The compound also has anti-inflammatory properties that can prevent bone loss. It stimulates bone-forming cells in the body.
One or two glasses of wine can work as good as drugs to protect older women from thinning bones. Moderate alcohol intake post menopause was found to maintain bone strength in the later years. More interestingly, the imbalance between the dissolving of the old bone and production of a new bone is what causes osteoporosis in older women – and alcohol, when consumed in moderation, remedies this imbalance. Nevertheless, the National Osteoporosis Society warns against drinking more alcohol to protect the bones. Excessive alcohol can increase the risk of fractures.
10. Reduces The Risk Of Cataracts
As per studies, the resveratrol and other antioxidants in red wine can help prevent blindness. In another study by the Washington University School of Medicine, resveratrol in the wine prevents the out-of-control growth of the blood vessels in the eye. It also prevents diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.
Resveratrol might also reduce the risk of cataracts by increasing the levels of glutathione in your system.
As per other studies, grapes (and the wine coming from them), green or red or black, can act as a magic bullet in the fight against cataracts.
11. Promotes Liver Health
Modest wine consumption was not only found to be safe for the liver, but it could even cut the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. On the contrary, intake of beer or liquor could increase the risk of the disease by four times.
12. May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s
Resveratrol in red wine was found to repair the leaky blood-brain barriers, allowing the blood from the body to enter the brain. This repair slows down the advancement of cognitive issues in Alzheimer’s patients. Alzheimer’s patients face further problems by nervous tissue inflammation, which is often caused by the secretion of harmful immune molecules from the body into the brain. Resveratrol shuts out these immune molecules, which would otherwise cause inflammation and destroy neurons.
Researchers have also been studying the compounds that are left behind after red wine passes through the gut – they call these compounds human gut metabolites. These metabolites can prevent the brain cells from dying.
13. Boosts Brain Health
According to research conducted by the Yale School of Medicine, though wine molecules don’t have taste or flavor, they stimulate the brain to create that sensation. This makes your gray matter work harder, boosting brain health. In fact, the taste may never be in the wine, but it is created by the brain of the wine taster.
Moderate regular doses of red wine were also found to have an antioxidant effect in the hippocampus of diabetics. And the resveratrol has similar effects on both the hippocampus and frontal cortex.
But otherwise, excessive alcohol consumption can deteriorate your thinking skills and cause brain damage.
However, we again have a contradiction. Some research does not support the common belief that a glass of red wine a day can prevent brain damage. Hence, if you have any kind of brain ailment and also happen to consume wine, stop right away and consult your doctor. Don’t take a chance.
14. Fights Depression
As per research, 2 to 7 glasses of red wine a week might reduce depression. The same research also suggests that exceeding the limit, conversely, can cause depression.
Getting to the percentages (for clarity), consuming 5 to 15 grams of alcohol per day is considered fine. And a small glass of wine contains about 9 grams of alcohol. Now you get the idea, don’t you?
15. Improves Sleep
The grapes red wine is made of are rich in melatonin, the very same compound that induces sleep in humans. This hormone is produced in our brain by the pineal gland. And almost grapes used to produce red wine contain more melatonin than our blood. According to scientists, the melatonin content in red wine could be high enough to help us sleep.
The melatonin in red wine can regulate the circadian rhythm, thereby aiding sleep.
In yet another study, people who drank red wine reported better sleep quality than those who drank plain water.
16. Enhances Lung Function
As per a report, the resveratrol in red wine can mitigate the inflammatory process that occurs in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). According to researchers from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, smoking is the primary cause of COPD – and the disease is irreversible. And one Greek study had found that two glasses of red wine assuaged the damage to the arteries caused by one cigarette.
According to an Ohio study, resveratrol can aid in the treatment of pulmonary hypertension. Although more research is required to scale the study, this does appear promising to human health.
17. Prevents Tooth Decay
Studies have revealed that red wine can protect your teeth by preventing cavities. The wine can help remove bacteria from the teeth, which otherwise produce acid that damages the teeth over time.
But this could be a trade-off between the pros and the cons – a lowered risk of cavities vs. stained teeth and the extra calories from alcohol. In moderation, however, you can enjoy the benefits.
The bacteria red wine removes is streptococcus, which is routinely found in dental cavities. The polyphenols in red wine can help remove these bacteria.
The studies have contraindications, though. Firstly, the research was conducted in a laboratory, and certain critics claim that the conditions inside the laboratory are way different from those inside the mouth. It also could be possible that the alcohol, acids, and sugars in red wine could nullify the benefits of its polyphenols.
Hence, two things to remember – moderate consumption is what we are talking about here. And even before that, consult your dentist and take his/her advice.
18. Boosts Levels Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
We don’t have to tell you how important omega-3 fatty acids are. According to a report by the Catholic University, moderate red wine intake can boost the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in red blood cells. The study also suggests that red wine does better than other alcoholic drinks. Researchers guess this effect could be attributed to the wine polyphenols.
This could also explain why red wine consumption has been linked to heart health – as omega-3s are known to promote heart health.
19. Strengthens The Immune System
Research has found that a daily glass of wine (red wine, in specific) can boost the immune system and help fight infections. And a glass or two of red wine can also help you beat those annoying colds.
As per the American Journal of Epidemiology, this protection can be stronger with red wine than with the white variant. The study states that red wine can develop a kind of immunity that can ward off 200 viruses that trigger the cold.
According to a study by the University of Florida, red wine doesn’t suppress the immune response – which basically means the wine won’t harm your immune system (when taken in moderation, of course). You can get the benefits of red wine without any harm to your immune function.
20. Helps Fight Parkinson’s Disease
According to a 2008 study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, resveratrol can protect the cells and nerves and also reduce brain damage in patients with Parkinson’s disease. The study was conducted on rats with positive results.
Resveratrol was also found to protect the brain cells from damage caused by tubes inserted into the brain for DBS (deep brain stimulation) treatment.
Another American study states that the resveratrol and quercetin in red wine might offer neuroprotection in patients with Parkinson’s . But further research is required.
The catechins in red wine can also protect the brain against the injuries caused by neurotoxins (that are involved in the onset of Parkinson’s disease).
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