There have been many debates concerning the health benefits of red wine for quite some time. Some believe that a glass of red wine a day is beneficial and a key element in a healthy diet, while others think that red wine is overrated.
Many times, studies have shown that red wine can lower the risk of several diseases, including heart disease. However, there is a fine line between moderate and excessive intake.
Red wine is rich in antioxidants, thus drinking moderate amounts can be good for the health. It is often believed to be responsible for the “French paradox.”
The “French paradox” refers to the fact that French people have low rates of heart disease, even though they consume high amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol. According to some experts, red wine was the dietary agent protecting the French population from the harmful effects of these nutrients.
But, recent studies have shown that dietary cholesterol and saturated fat do not cause heart disease when consumed in reasonable amounts. The real reason for their good health lies in their habit to eat whole foods and live overall healthier lifestyles.
Grapes contain resveratrol, catechin, epicatechin and proanthocyanidins, which are believed to be responsible for the health benefits of red wine. Proanthocyanidins may reduce oxidative damage in the body. They may also help prevent heart disease and cancer.
Resveratrol is located in the grape skin. This is an antioxidant that can fight inflammation and blood clotting, as well as reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
According to a 2012 study conducted on rats, can provide the same benefits for heart function and muscle strength as exercise. According to the researchers, “some of the benefits of regular exercise can also be mimicked by the naturally occurring polyphenol, resveratrol.”
Still, the levels of resveratrol in red wine is quie low, meaning you would have to consume several bottles per day to reach the amount used in the animal studies, and thi is not recommended at all. If you want to get enough resveratrol, then consuming it as a supplement is a far better and safer method.
It’s been shown that people who drink approximately 150 ml (5 oz) of red wine a day seem to be at about a 32% lower risk than non-drinkers. On the other hand, higher intake increases the risk of heart disease dramatically.
Consuming small amounts of red wine can retain the “good” HDL cholesterol in the blood and reduce the oxidative damage and the oxidation of the “bad” LDL cholesterol by 50%. According to some studies, people prone to heart diseases, like elderly people, can even benefit from consuming moderate amounts of red wine.
Moreover, consuming 1–3 glasses daily, or 3–4 days weekly, may reduce the risk of stroke in middle-aged men. According to a study, consuming 2–3 glasses of dealcoholized red wine daily may lower blood pressure. Many studies agree that moderate wine drinkers are at a lower risk of death from heart disease, compared to non-drinkers or beer and spirit drinkers
Red wine can also:
- Reduced Risk of Cancer
Studies have found a link between moderate wine consumption and decreased risk of several cancers, including colon, basal cell, ovary and prostate cancers.
- Reduced Risk of Dementia
Drinking 1–3 glasses of wine daily has been linked to a reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Reduced Risk of Depression
According to a study conducted on middle-aged and elderly people, those who drank 2–7 glasses of wine per week were less likely to become depressed.
- Reduced Insulin Resistance
Drinking 2 glasses per day of regular or dealcoholized red wine for 4 weeks may reduce insulin resistance.
- Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women
There is a link between moderate red wine consumption and reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes in women.
Negative Health Effects of Drinking Too Much Alcohol
- Alcohol Dependence
Drinking too much alcohol can lead to alcoholism
- Liver Cirrhosis
Drinking more than 30 grams of alcohol daily increases the risk of developing end-stage liver disease called cirrhosis, which is life-threatening.
- Increased Risk of Depression
Heavy drinkers are at a much higher risk of depression than moderate or non-drinkers.
- Weight Gain
This happens because red wine contains twice the amount of calories as beer and sugary soft drinks.
- Increased Risk of Death and Disease
Drinking wine more than recommended may increase the risk of diabetes in men. High alcohol intake has also been linked with an increased risk of premature death.
What is the safe amount of drinking red wine?
In Europe and America, moderate red wine consumption is considered to be:
- 1–1.5 glasses a day for women.
- 1–2 glasses a day for men.
It is also recommended to have 1-2 alcohol-free days each week.
These numbers show the total amount of alcohol you should be consuming. Drinking this amount of red wine plus other alcoholic beverages could easily put you in the range of excessive consumption.
If you have a history of substance abuse, then make sure to completely stay away from wine or any other type of alcoholic beverage. Also be very careful if you have a family history of alcoholism.
None of these health benefits encourage alcohol consumption. But, if you do enjoy red wine, then this information can be helpful.