Fine Wine and its Fine Health Benefits
Most individuals choose to drink wine because of its delicious flavor, aroma and texture. These are three factors that any experienced wine drinker will stress the importance of.
However, recent medical studies and reports are now linking wine consumption to numerous health benefits. So before you go questioning the negative impact of that second or third glass of wine, you should take note of the following benefits listed here.
The French Paradox
It’s believed residents living around the Mediterranean have known, or at least experienced, the benefits of drinking wine for quite some time now. Compared to those people living in the west, residents here lived longer, healthier lives.
In November 1991, 60 Minutes aired a segment focusing on “The French Paradox,” which is basically the theory as to why the general French population experience less heart disease, even though their diet consists of a high amount of saturated fat.
The 60 Minutes segment featured the work of a research scientist named Serge Renaud who theorized that wine consumption could play a major role in reducing heart disease. Renaud stated that although both French and American diets consisted of high amounts of saturated fats, the French consumed more wine, which could be the reasoning behind their longevity.
After the 60 Minutes segment aired featuring the work of Renaud, other scientists began to look more closely into the possible health benefits associated with wine.
The Harvard School of Public Health performed a 6-year study of 11,711 men and found that those who drank moderate amounts of wine were 30% less likely to suffer a heart attack than non-drinkers.
It’s unclear as to the reasoning behind the lowered risk of heart disease with wine consumption, but some scientists believe it’s related to the improved circulation it provides.
Wine and all other forms of alcohol act as a blood thinner, allowing blood to move more freely throughout the circulatory system. You can achieve this same blood-thinning effect with beer and other forms of alcohol, but these usually come with other negative effects, such as high calories and even saturated fats in some mixed drinks.
Another reason why wine consumption may lower the risk of heart disease is the fact that it raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in your body.
Many people assume that all forms of cholesterol are bad for their health, so they try to avoid them. While you should limit the amount of low-density lioprotein (LDL) cholesterol in your diet, HDL is actually good for you.
A high level of HDL cholesterol in your body works to remove and eliminate the bad cholesterol clogging your arteries. When there’s less cholesterol in your arteries, common sense should tell you there’s a less chance of developing heart disease.
A shocking statistic to hear is that coronary disease is responsible for nearly 1 in 6 deaths in the U.S., claiming anywhere between 600,000 to 800,000 people each year. These are epidemic rates which need to be addressed immediately.
While drinking wine isn’t going to drop these numbers down to zero, scientists have already proven that it significantly reduces the chance of developing coronary disease.
Individuals suffering from diabetes may also be able to reap the benefits of a daily glass of wine.
In this study, researchers found that red wine contains a variety of chemicals used to regulate blood sugar levels in the body.
They stated that a single glass of wine was the equivalent of taking an anti-diabetic drug. The report noted that polyphenols are used to naturally control glucose levels, thereby reducing the risk of a diabetic-related shock incident.
Although both red and white wines are proven to be beneficial, scientists are more optimistic towards the unique nutrients found in red wine.
Resveratrol is one such nutrient that’s found concentrated in the skin of red grapes. Although scientists are still learning more about it, they’ve determined that resveratrol acts as a powerful antioxidant with the ability to slow down and sometimes even stop the spreading of an infection.
In addition, antioxidants are responsible for protecting cells from oxidative damage caused by everyday pollutants in the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink.
Even though you can’t physically see it, there are pesticides and other harmful chemicals in the world all around us. These chemicals get into our bodies where they damage cells, sometimes even promoting abnormal cellular growth (cancer).
Because of its ability to act as an antioxidant, some people believe that resveratrol found in wine is able to slow down the effects of aging. There’s no concrete evidence or reputable studies on this theory, but it makes sense – resveratrol acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that protects cells from naturally occurring damage.
If we frequently supply our bodies with an adequate amount of this powerful compound, we could potentially see less signs of aging.
Yet another benefit associated with wine consumption is a reduced risk in developing kidney stones. Although they usually aren’t life-threatening, no one enjoys getting kidney stones.
However, a study performed by Harvard University found that drinking wine reduced the risk of developing them by as much as 59%. The report noted that drinking more liquids in general lowered the risk of developing kidney stones, but wine was by far the most effective.
In order to fully reap the benefits of drinking wine, you must do so only in moderation. A single glass of red or white wine will only yield around 120 to 130 calories, but when you consume an entire bottle, that’s roughly 500 calories. A good rule of thumb is to place a daily limit of one glass for women or two glasses for men.
So, let’s recap what some of the health benefits of wine consumption are:
- Lowered risk of heart disease
- Increase HDL cholesterol (good kind)
- Regulates blood sugar levels
- Reduces the risk of developing kidney stones
- Contains the powerful antioxidant compound resveratrol
Try to get into the habit of drinking wine daily if you want to see a noticeable difference in your overall health and well-being.
Also, scientists believe that red wine is more beneficial due to the grape skins being left in during the pressing. Don’t let this stop you from enjoying a glass of white wine, as both types are proven to have positive effects on the human body.
Bill Sweat works and writes for Wine Refrigerator Now, an active wine blog and wine cooler store. His role allows him to write about his passion for wine and chat with his avid readers. Have a look at the blog, or like it on facebook!
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