When was the last time you enjoyed a meal with all your senses? How long has it been since you spent a whole day in bed without a guilty conscience? Probably, too long!
Hustle, obligations and time pressure. We always have to work. Here is a To Do list of things to be done today. You cannot go to the cinema because you have to go to a dancing class. You avoid lasagna because you are on a low-carb diet right now.
Mulled wine is a beverage usually made with red wine along with various mulling spices and sometimes raisins. It is served hot or warm and is alcoholic, although there are non-alcoholic versions of mulled wine. It is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas.
Wine was first recorded as spiced and heated in Rome during the 2nd century. The Romans travelled across Europe, conquering much of it and trading with the rest. The legions brought wine and viticulture with them up to the Rhine and Danube rivers and to the Scottish border, along with their recipes.
The Forme of Cury, a medieval English cookery book from 1390, which mentioned mulled wine, says: "Pur fait Ypocras …" grinding together cinnamon, ginger, galangal, cloves, long pepper, nutmeg, marjoram, cardamom and grains of paradise ("spykenard de Spayn", rosemary may be substituted). This is mixed with red wine and sugar (form and quantity unstated).
In traditional cultureOver the years the recipe for mulled wine has evolved with the tastes and fashions of the time. One Victorian example of this is Smoking Bishop, mentioned by Charles Dickens but no longer drunk or known in contemporary culture. A more traditional recipe can be found in Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management at paragraph 1961 on page 929 to 930 of the revised edition dated 1869:
TO MULL WINE.
INGREDIENTS.- To every pint of wine allow 1 large cupful of water, sugar and spice to taste.
Mode.-In making preparations like the above, it is very difficult to give the exact proportions of ingredients like sugar and spice, as what quantity might suit one person would be to another quite distasteful. Boil the spice in the water until the flavour is extracted, then add the wine and sugar, and bring the whole to the boiling-point, then serve with strips of crisp dry toast, or with biscuits. The spices usually used for mulled wine are cloves, grated nutmeg, and cinnamon or mace. Any kind of wine may be mulled, but port and claret are those usually selected for the purpose; and the latter requires a very large proportion of sugar. The vessel that the wine is boiled in must be delicately cleaned, and should be kept exclusively for the purpose. Small tin warmers may be purchased for a trifle, which are more suitable than saucepans, as, if the latter are not scrupulously clean; they spoil the wine, by imparting to it a very disagreeable flavour. These warmers should be used for no other purpose.
In contemporary culture
In contemporary British culture, there is no specific recipe for mulled wine and the spices involved in its recipe. It is commonly a combination of orange, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel seed (or star anise), cloves, cardamom, and ginger. The spices may be combined and boiled in a sugar syrup before red wine is added, heated, and served. Variations include adding brandy or ginger wine. A tea bag of spices can be added to the wine, which is heated along with slices of orange as a convenient alternative to a full recipe. Mulled wine is often served in small (200ml) porcelain or glass mugs, sometimes with an orange slice garnish studded with cloves.
A British Pub selling mulled wine and spiced (mulled) cider in December
Mulled wine and ales infused with mulling spices are available in the UK in the winter months. Wassail punch is a warm mulled beer or cider drunk in winter in Victorian times.
Glühwein (roughly translated as "glow-wine", from the hot irons once used for mulling) is popular in German-speaking countries and in the region of Alsace in France. It is a traditional beverage that is offered during the Christmas holidays. In Alsace Christmas market, it is traditionnally the only alcoholic beverage served. Due to its low alcohol degree because of the warming process, children are also allowed to drink it, while eating local pastries like gingerbread. The oldest documented Glühwein tankard is attributed to Count John IV of Katzenelnbogen, a German nobleman who was the first grower of Riesling grapes. This gold-plated lockable silver tankard is dated to c. 1420.
Glühwein is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, cloves, star aniseed, citrus, sugar and at times vanilla pods. It is sometimes drunk mit Schuss (with a shot), which means that rum or some other liquor has been added. Fruit wines, such as blueberry wine and cherry wine, are occasionally used instead of grape wine in some parts of Germany. There is also a variation of Glühwein which is made with white wine. However, white Glühwein is less popular than its red counterpart.
Another popular variant of Glühwein in Germany is the Feuerzangenbowle. It shares the same recipe, but for this drink a rum-soaked sugarloaf is set on fire and allowed to drip into the wine.
Glögg, gløgg, glögi and similar words are the terms used for mulled wine in the Nordic countries (sometimes misspelled as glog or glug). It is spelled gløgg in Norwegian and Danish, glögg in Swedish and Icelandic and glögi in Finnish and Estonian. In Denmark, gløgg is often drunk at Christmas events in the country.
Non-alcoholic and alcoholic versions of glögg can be bought ready-made or prepared with fruit juices instead of wine. The main ingredients of alcoholic glögg are red wine, sugar, spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and bitter orange, and optionally also stronger spirits such as vodka, akvavit, or brandy. Throughout Scandinavia, glögg spice extract and ready-mixed spices can be purchased in grocery stores. To prepare glögg, spices and/or spice extract are mixed into the wine, which is then heated to 60-70 °C. When preparing homemade glögg using spices, the hot mixture is allowed to infuse for at least an hour, often longer, and then reheated before serving. Ready-made wine glögg, as well as low- or non-alcoholic varieties is normally sold at Systembolaget in Sweden, and in Alko in Finland, ready to heat and serve, and not in concentrate or extract form. Glögg is generally served with raisins, blanched almonds and Ginger biscuits (Ginger Snaps), and is a popular hot drink during the Christmas season.
In Sweden, ginger bread and lussebullar (also called lussekatter), a type of sweet bun with saffron and raisins, are typically served. It is also traditionally served at Julbord, the Christmas buffet. In Denmark, gløgg pairings typically include æbleskiver sprinkled with powdered sugar and accompanied with strawberry marmalade. In Norway, gløgg is paired with rice pudding (Norwegian: riskrem). In such cases, the word graut-/grøtfest is more precise, taking the name from the rice pudding which is served as a course. Typically, gløgg is drunk before eating the rice pudding, which is often served with cold, red cordial (saus).
Glögg recipes vary widely; variations with white wine or sweet wine such as Port or Madeira, or spirits such as brandy or whisky are also popular. Glögg can also be made without alcohol by replacing the wine with fruit or berry juices (often blackcurrant) or by boiling the glögg to evaporate the alcohol. Glögg is similar in taste to modern Wassail or mulled cider
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Serbia, kuhano vino/kuvano vino/кувано вино ("cooked wine"), is made from red or white wine and various combinations of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, sugar and orange zest, often served with slices of orange or lemon.
In the south and southeast of Brazil, where a large amount of European descendants live, it is called vinho quente. It is typically made with red wine, cinnamon sticks and cloves. It is served as part of the Festa Junina, celebrated during winter in the month of June.
In Bulgaria, it is called greyano vino (Bulgarian: греяно вино) ("heated wine"), and consists of red wine, honey and peppercorn. Sometimes apples and/or citrus fruits, such as lemon or oranges, can be added.
In Chile it is called "candola" in the south and "vino navega'o" in the north ('navegado' is considered a hypercorrection) ['sailor; navigator']. Navega'o is a hot drink made from red wine, orange peels, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and sugar. Although being considered a southern Chile beverage, it is served throughout the country. Many people regard it as Winter drink. Saint John's Eve (Spanish tradition which replaced 'Wetripantru', the Mapuche New Year's Day that coincides with the Winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere—Midsummer in the northern hemisphere) on the evening of 23 June would be, for example, a good moment to drink 'navega'o'.
In the Czech Republic, mulled wine is called svařené víno ("boiled wine"), colloquially svařák.
In France, vin chaud ("hot wine") typically consists of red wine mixed with honey, cinnamon, and orange. It must not be too sweet. Beverage noted in the Alps for winter sports.
In Hungary, forralt bor ("boiled wine") is typically made from the country's popular Egri Bikavér and spiced with cinnamon, sugar and cloves. Sometimes Amaretto is added for extra taste.
In Italy, mulled wine is typical in the northern part of the country and is called vin brulé (from the French vin brûlé, "burnt wine", though the expression is not used in France).
In Latvia, it is called karstvīns ("hot wine"). When out of wine, it is prepared using grape (or currant) juice and Riga Black Balsam.
In Lithuania, it is called "glintveinas" or karštas vynas ("hot wine").
In Republic of Macedonia, it is called vareno vino (Macedonian: варено вино, boiled wine) or greeno vino (Macedonian: греено вино, heated wine) and is usually served in late autumn or winter. It is made of red wine, usually from the Tikvešh region, combined with cinnamon and sugar or honey. The wine heated in a combination with pepper is used as a prevention from flu or cold.
In Moldova, the izvar is made from red wine with black pepper and honey.
In the Netherlands, the drink is known as bisschopswijn (literally "bishop's wine"). Bisschopswijn is drunk during the Sinterklaas holidays.
In Poland, grzane wino ("heated wine"), or grzaniec in highlander dialect, is very similar to the Czech variant, especially in the southern regions. There is also a similar method for preparing mulled beer or "grzane piwo" which is popular with Belgian beers because of the sweet flavor of that particular type of beer, which uses the same spices as mulled wine and is heated.
In Portugal, mainly in the Douro and Minho Provinces it is called vinho quente and made with Madeira wine and Port wine, in the Porto region Porto Quente is more popular.
In Romania, it is called vin fiert ("boiled wine"), and it is made using red wine, adding sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, anise and orange zest. Everything is boiled and served hot.
In Russia, Глинтвейн ("Glintwein") is a popular drink during winters[and has same recipe as the German Glühwein. Additionally, the traditional Russian winter herbal drink sbiten, although usually a non-alcoholic tisane made with hot water, may also be made with red wine replacing some or all of the water.
In Turkey, it is called Sıcak Şarap ("hot wine") and can be made using sweet red wine, adding sugar and fruits such as lemon and orange. (The classical sweet wine for this use used to be the now discontinued "Hoşbağ" brand of the former Turkish state monopoly "TEKEL".
In Quebec, Canada, red wine is mixed with maple syrup and hard liquor and heated. The drink is called Caribou and is very popular during the Quebec Winter Carnival.
1 Cloake, Felicity (9 December 2010). "How to make perfect mulled wine". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
2.John, J. (2005). A Christmas Compendium. Continuum. p. 80. ISBN 0-8264-8749-1.
3.Thomas Dudley Fosbroke (1835). A Treatise on the Arts, Manufactures, Manners, and Institutions of the Greeks and Romans. Longmans. p. 327.
4.Titus Maccius Plautus (1829). M. Accii Plauti Comœdiæ. Cubrante et imprimente A. J. Valpy. "Quos semper videas bibentes esse in Thermopolio: Ubi quid surripuere, operto capitulo calidum bibunt, Tristes atque ebrioli incedunt." ' Translation: "Those always seem to be drinking in the cafe where you have stolen hiding in hot drink, always gloomy and tipsy." - Plautus, CURCULIONIS ACT. II. The reference to Plautus is given in "History of Rome, and of the Roman people: from its origin to the invasion of the barbarians", Victor Duruy, Estes and Lauriat, 1894, Page 400.
5. J. Robinson (ed.)The Oxford Companion to WineThird Edition. Oxford University Press, 2006. 589–590
6. Pegge, S., 2007. The Forme of Cury. BiblioLife.
7. (2011). Oldandinteresting.com.
8.Lewis, E. (2009). Mulled Apple Juice. BBC Good Food. Bbcgoodfood.com
9.Mayson, I.M., (1861). Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management. London and Melbourne: Warde, Lock and Company Ltd.
10.Cloake, Felicity. "How to make perfect mulled wine". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
11."Activities: Make Your Your Own Victorian Wassail Punch". BBD. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
12."Glögg Alkoholfri: Mulled red wine, non-alcoholic". IKEA. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
13.Hamilton, C. (2005). Brazil: A Culinary Journey. Hippocrene cookbook library. Hippocrene Books. p. 197. ISBN 978-0-7818-1080-7. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
14.Herrera-Sobek, M. (2012). Celebrating Latino Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Cultural Traditions [3 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-313-34340-7. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
15."Ten things you need to know to celebrate Sinterklaas". Dutchnews.nl. 28 November 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
16.Holton, N. (2014). Bisschopswijn. Thedutchtable.com.
17.Jansen, R. (2012). Sinterklaas en Bisschopswijn. Wijnbloggers.nl.
18. "Russian Sbiten Recipe". About Food. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
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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Ever wondered about the effects of alcohol on metabolism— and what happens when you wake up knowing that you shouldn’t have had that last one. Drinking moderately comes with a wealth of health benefits, says Sam Zakhari, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) and former Director of the Division of Metabolism and Health Effects at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
Things to should Know When Wanting to have “That Glass”
1. Are you drinking more than you think?
A study from Cancer Research UK suggests that the average British adult might drink around 3,740 calories of beer or 3,750 calories of alcohol while attending holiday parties this year. Even though 27 percent of the 18- to 24-year-olds and 33 percent of the 25- to 34-year-olds surveyed said they had been known to skip a meal to “make room” for drinking (!!!), they still ended up imbibing so much that it would have taken seven hours of jogging to work off all that seasonal cheer.
So how much should you be drinking, anyway? “Defined by the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate drinking is no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two for men,” says Dr. Zakhari. Reality check: That means 12 ounces of beer, 1.5 ounces of spirits, and 5 ounces of wine. Go forth and enjoy (moderately).
2. What about counting carbs?
If you’re trying to lose weight or get in shape, which type of alcohol should you order? You’ve got options, says David Sack, M.D., CEO of Promises Treatment Centers. “In terms of sheer calorie count, beer has the most — about 150 calories. However, if you opt for light beer, that’s about 100 calories, which is about the same as a serving of wine or liquor,” says Dr. Sack. Beer usually has around 10 to 20 grams of carbs (although strong, sweet beers have more), while lagers and stouts have the least (around 6 to 11 grams), according to Dr. Sack. If wine is your thing, a glass of red only has two grams of carbohydrates, and keep in mind that drier wines will have fewer carbs and sugar.
Hard liquor actually comes in at zero sugar and carbs. That might seem like a win, but it all depends how you drink it. “Just watch the mixers,” recommends Dr. Sack. “There’s a big difference between straight vodka and the vodka in a Cosmo,” which is paired with sugary cranberry juice.
3. Your brain might benefit from moderate drinking
Let’s be honest: Going overboard on drinks can make your brain feel foggy at best, or short a few brain cells at worst. But, keep your bar tab under control and you might actually be doing your brain a favor. “Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol throughout your life can actually ward off cognitive decline and improve brain function,” says Dr. Zakhari. Research in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that of the 489 women studied, moderate drinkers scored higher than abstinent women or heavy drinkers on a cognitive functioning test.
“Decline in cognition is usually due to the brain not receiving enough oxygen,” explains Dr. Zakhari. “Alcohol makes the blood more fluid, which helps the blood supply to the brain remain constant.” Does the type of alcohol matter? Nope! According to Dr. Zakhari, it’s about the actual alcohol, not the form it comes in.
4. Drinking moderatly could help prevent a stroke.
Alcohol’s blood thinning effect can help ward off strokes. Dr. Zakhari explains that there are two types of strokes: ischemic, when a blood clot stops blood from going to parts of the brain, and hemorrhagic, when the brain bleeds too much. Around 80 percent of strokes are ischemic, which is where alcohol comes in. “Moderate drinking helps reduce the clotting of blood, so there’s less of a possibility of a blood vessel being clogged,” says Dr. Zakhari. “And then even if a clot does happen, alcohol can help with fibrinolysis, which is the dissolution of the clot.”
5. Alcohol might not help you sleep better.
If you imbibe before bed, you might help yourself nod off, but you’re not doing your body any favors in the long run. “Alcohol may help you sleep now, but you’ll likely pay for it by being wakeful later,” says Dr. Sack. Boozy beverages can disrupt what’s known as sleep homeostasis, the process that helps your body regulate sleep, according to research in the journal Alcohol. While alcohol is a somnogen, or sleep inducer, it can also disrupt you in the middle of the night. “Then there’s the fact that relying on alcohol to help you sleep can lead to problems down the road. What tends to happen is that alcohol works less and less well as a sleep aid over time, so we respond by increasing the amount we are drinking,” says Dr. Sack.
6. Even one episode of binge drinking can be detrimental to your health.
Here’s an excellent reason to keep yourself in check: Overdoing it even once — yes, you read that right — can affect your health in freaky ways, says research in PLOS ONE. Binge drinking is “a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08,” according to the NIAAA. That’s about four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men within about two hours.
In the study, researchers discovered binge drinkers had bacterial DNA in their bloodstreams, which was a sign bacteria had leaked out from the gut. They also discovered elevated endotoxin presence in the blood, which meant toxins had been released from cells after cell walls were damaged by booze. The consequences: These toxins could lead to fever, tissue destruction and inflammation, which is tied to a host of health problems from cancer to depression. It sounds scary, but avoiding these issues is pretty simple if you follow Dr. Zakhari’s alcohol mantra: “It’s all about moderation.”