The Health Benefits of Drinking Wine

How drinking (moderate amounts of) wine can help your health

Drinking wine can be good for your health — we know, you're familiar with the topic. But don't even try and tell me that you're tired of the subject, or that you wouldn't pass along the results of some new study supporting the claim.

Recently, an article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry had some excited about the possibility that drinking wine could help prevent sunburns. The study cited in the article, which was conducted by The University of Barcelona in collaboration with the Spanish National Research Council, found that the flavanoids present in grapes can stop the chemical reaction that causes cells to die (aka skin damage). Exciting stuff, right? Well, sort of.

As it turns out, what the research actually shows is that the topical application of products containing the extracts may help fight skin damage. So go ahead and pack that bottle of wine in your beach cooler, just don't leave the sunscreen at home.

Still, not all news about the health benefits of wine turns out to be a buzz kill. Read on for a refresher course on the many alleged good-for-you benefits of drinking wine... in moderation.

 

Helps memory and cognitive function

Anyone who's ever woken up a bit fuzzy on the details after last night's outing at the wine bar has to laugh a little hearing it, but this claim no joke. Studies have shown that people who drink moderate amounts of wine a day (that's one to two four ounce glasses) may have a reduced risk of suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's. It is thought that this is due to the fact that alcohol promotes the production of HDL, the "good cholesterol," which helps reduce the inflammation and clogging of artery walls. For this same reason, it is also believed that drinking moderate amounts of wine can help reduce the risk of suffering from a stroke.

 

Lowers risk of heart attack & heart disease

One of the most common benefits associated with drinking wine, red in particular, is the possible prevention of heart attack and heart disease. The keyword to remember here is resveratrol. Found in the skin of red grapes, the polyphenol has been linked to benefits like preventing damage to blood vessels, reducing heart inflammation, and blocking molecules from converting into fat — all of which can help ward off cardiovascular disease.

 

Helps with weight management

According to one study, women who drank one to two glasses of wine a day were found to be 30 percent less likely to be overweight than women who didn't drink. The explanation? Basically it has to the do with the amount of energy being spent creating the enzymes required to digest the drink — some research has found that your body can burn calories up to 90 minutes after consuming a glass. Another theory has to do with the fact that alcohol raises your body temperature which makes you burn calories.

 

Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes

Research seems to indicate that the polyphenols in red wine can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance in diabetics. It's important to note, however, that such benefits are also based on the assumption that individuals are living an overall healthy lifestyle.

Promotes healthy lungs

 When it comes to the subject of wine and health benefits, red wine is used to getting all the attention. But in this case, white wine gets its moment in the spotlight. A 2002 study by the University at Buffalo found that the antioxidants in the wine may help stop free radicals which can cause damage to lung tissues.

 

Cancer combatant

Drinking wine has been linked to helping with the prevention of a number of different types of cancer — ovarian, prostate, colon. A 2005 study, for example, found that drinking red wine in moderation reduced the risk of colon cancer by 45 percent. In the case of ovarian cancer, research has led many experts to believe that the photoestrogens in wine give it its anti-cancer properties. What's more, University of Michigan recently conducted a study in which a red wine compound helped kill ovarian cancer cells in a test tube.

 

Bone Strength

A recent study featured in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that red wine may help improve bone density in older men and therefore reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Once again, it is believed that the polyphenols in grape skins are to thank.

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