Most people assume wine to be harmful to your body because of its alcohol content, but it’s time to turn heads because this blog will change the way you and others perceive wine and its health benefits, or should I say winefits? Heh.
As you may already know from our previous blog posts, that there are certain distinctions between red and white wine when it comes to taste and winemaking, but do we really know much about their differences with regards to their health benefits?
Red (and to a lesser extent) white wines contain antioxidants found in the skin of grapes that is vital for heart health. Because red wines involve longer periods of fermentation and maceration than white wines, reds thus tend to have higher levels of resveratrol than whites. Most research studies are therefore more focused on the benefits of drinking red wine as compared to white wine. These studies suggest that since higher levels of antioxidants are found in red grape varieties as compared to white, drinking red wine can increase antioxidant levels in the blood to a larger extent than white wine, thereby having more considerable health benefits than drinking white wine.
What are some of these antioxidants, you may ask? Most of the benefits of drinking red wine are largely attributed to resveratrol, a compound belonging to the family of polyphenols that are found in red and purple grape skins. We drink wine when we are happy and sad, because drinking wine relaxes our minds and makes us temporarily happier.
However, besides bringing us mental happiness, it has been proven that moderate red wine intake is also good in improving our mental health. An occasional glass of wine may reduce the risk of depression and dementia, with statistics demonstrating a significant lower risk of dementia among regular and moderate red wine drinkers in 14 countries. Resveratrol may also improve short-term memory. Researchers established that participants taking this polyphenol in a research study were able to retain more words with a faster performance in the part of the brain that is responsible for the formation of new memories, emotions and learning just after 30 minutes of testing. Never imagined that red wine could make you smarter, eh?
As mentioned previously, red wine is recognised for its heart-protecting benefits. This may be due to the effects of polyphenols, which increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels, aka the ‘good’ cholesterol, while reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, aka the ‘bad’ one thereby protecting the lining of your blood vessels. Additionally, resveratrol acts as a blood thinner, much like aspirin, which helps prevent blood clots. That is why drinking red wine in moderation is known to lower blood pressure and risk of heart disease and stroke. So does this mean, a glass of red wine a day keeps the doctor away?
Whilst drinking red wine has shown to bring many numerous health benefits, wine in moderation is key to a healthy life, along with proper diet and exercise of course. This does not mean you get to ramp up the party and fill yourself up with red wine in the name of health! Heavy drinkers are prone to have the opposite effect of red wine, which means they have a higher risk of getting heart attacks and cancer. In fact, the American Heart Association does not recommend nondrinkers or individuals at risk of alcoholism to begin drinking.
So you may be wondering how much wine you should drink to acquire these health benefits. Although a glass a day may keep the doctor away, the doctor will not be far if you are constantly drinking from an oversized wine glass! A proper glass of wine should be a 5-ounce pour, with women aiming to have one glass a day and men, two (I know, life’s unfair).
A healthier option that nondrinkers can consider is nonalcoholic red wine, which a study suggested in 2012 to reduce blood pressure. Individuals can also consider consuming grapes, berries and peanuts which are other good sources of resveratrol. So you definitely can’t use drinking red wine as an excuse for your resveratrol intake!
Although red wines take the cake from its promising health benefits such as those previously mentioned, white wines aren’t any less beneficial because they help to boost lung function. A study in 2002 showed that participants who drank moderate white wine had the best results when testing their lung function by measuring the amount of air they could exhale in one breath.
However when it comes to cancer, red wines steal the spotlight once again! They contain aromatase inhibitors (AI) which reduce estrogen levels and increase testosterone levels in women approaching menopause, thereby discouraging cancer cell growth. In addition, men who drank moderate amounts of red wine had half the chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer as compared to nondrinkers in a study published in 2007. These are all thanks to antioxidants, such as resveratrol, that are found in wine which help to fight free radicals in our body which allow cancer to thrive, thereby reducing the risk of cancer.
We hope that this blog has highlighted the importance of winefits with regards to health (still love this), and that you will impart this knowledge to your family and friends, or even that hot date you want to impress. Hold out your wine glass like Dicaprio, because it’s time to party Gatsby style!