After a long day of work, when you finally kick off your shoes and lounge on the couch, do you like to enjoy a nice glass of red wine to help wind down?
If so, here’s some good news for you: there are many excuses to enjoy every sip. Studies have suggested that in moderation, red wine can improve your health in many ways.
1. Prevents heart disease
Your nightly glass of red wine could keep your heart healthy, according to the American Heart Association. Moderate alcohol use can prevent atherosclerosis, or fatty deposits that form on the walls of blood vessels and often cause blood clots, which can lead to potentially fatal heart attacks.
"antioxidants are responsible for many of the health benefits of red wine" Though moderate intake of any type of alcohol can prevent atherosclerosis, red wine’s effect on the development of the disease is stronger in comparison; AHA’s studies have also suggested that red wine prevents coronary heart disease and strokes more so than any other type of alcohol.
2. Reduces risk of depression
Your zinfandel might help you kick the after-work blues — and maybe just the blues in general. According to one study, drinking red wine was associated with lower rates of depression.
Moderate consumption of wine may reduce your risk of feeling down. On the other hand, make sure not to let that one glass a night become one bottle, because heavy drinking can increase your risk.
3. Lowers cholesterol
If you’re trying to control your cholesterol, an occasional glass of red may aid you in your efforts. According to Yale-New Haven Hospital, antioxidants present in red wine can lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol and raise HDL ("good") cholesterol. These antioxidants are responsible for many of the health benefits of red wine.
4. Controls blood sugar
According to researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, it’s possible that red wine may be able to help regulate blood sugar. The antioxidants in red wine may slow the passage of sugar and prevent a blood sugar spike — making red wine exceptionally beneficial for those who suffer from type 2 diabetes. Red wine contains approximately 10 times more of these beneficial antioxidants than white wine.
5. Keeps you slim and trim
By the last sip of your glass of red, you might feel sexier — but it’s not all in your head. According to Archives of Internal Medicine, red wine could even trim your waistline.
A recent 13-year-long study of more than 19,000 women suggested that consuming light to moderate amounts of alcohol lowers your risk of becoming overweight. Out of the four types of alcohol tested — red wine, white wine, beer, and liquor — red wine had the strongest effect on the subjects’ weight.
6. Prevents breast cancer
Red wine can also prevent cancer — specifically, breast cancer. According to the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, resveratrol, which can be found in grapes (and thus, red wine), can prevent human breast cancer cells from growing.
7. Slows the aging process (yes, really!)
If all of the previous benefits don’t lengthen your life themselves, it appears as though red wine could on its own, according to Harvard Medical School biologist David Sinclair.
Beyond preventing cancer, resveratrol may also be able to slow the aging process by activating enzymes that are involved in DNA repair, circadian clocks, and other vital bodily processes.
Though you may have always viewed your evening glass of cabernet franc as a luxury, research suggests there are many benefits of red wine, from reducing your risk of depression to lengthening your life. Do your body a favor and add a bit of red wine to your evenings. That glass (or two, but no more than that) doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure, but a nightly health regimen — and quite a pleasurable one at that.
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This post was originally published on October 16, 2013.