But just a glass. We know that articles like these are tempting fodder for excuses to down a bottle with a friend under the guise of, “It’s healthy for me!” But we’re really only advocating a glass a day — that’s all.
Heavy drinking comes with a laundry list of terrifying side effects of its own, and likely counteracts all the good you’d otherwise do for your body with a smooth glass of red. And with alcoholism climbing rapidly in popularity in the United States, we should all be mindful to prevent such excess consumption now more than ever.
But honestly, this list is still great news. There’s just something so relaxing about sitting down with a glass of wine at dinner or winding down after a busy day with wine and reality TV. As it turns out, the benefits go far beyond simple relaxation.
The verdict on alcohol consumption as a whole is more messy and confusing, but health experts seem to agree on one thing: Wine in moderation is great for you. In study after study, we discover more perks that turn an indulgent glass of red wine into an elixir of health.
Wine made the list of foods that help you live to be 100 — and we’re so glad it did. Turns out, that nightly glass of wine is doing more than just smoothing the stress in your life. It’s smoothing wrinkles, too. Resveratrol activates anti-aging enzymes involved in DNA repair, circadian clocks, and other vital bodily processes.
Recent studies suggest that wine helps fight dangerous flu symptoms — a perk that adds to the list of immunity-boosting benefits red wine has to offer. The secret is in wine’s gut-healing power. When certain gut bacteria thrive, your immune system thrives, too.
As if we needed another reason to love resveratrol — it inhibits the growth of bacteria that causes skin inflammation. That inflammation shows up as unwelcome acne. Instead of soda or one of these other drinks that make you break out, sip on a calming glass of your favorite red wine. It could help banish breakouts for good.
As you age, you’re at greater risk for blood vessel overgrowth in your eyes; this overgrowth often causes vision impairment. Cataracts, macular degeneration, and even blindness could occur. However, one study showed that mice exposed to resveratrol (the healthiest ingredient in wine) effectively combated blood-vessel-related damage.
Again: only in moderation. An excess of any type of alcohol balloons your risk of liver damage and disease. However, promising research from the UC San Diego School of Medicine found that drinkers of wine had far lower risk of liver disease than drinkers of other substances. So if you’re going to drink something, your liver really prefers it be wine.
One recent study confirmed a result found years ago in other studies regarding wine and insulin: Moderate drinkers have a dramatically decreased risk of developing diabetes later in life than non-drinkers. Of course, the result was exclusive to frequent drinkers of small amounts and did not extend to less frequent drinkers of large amounts of alcohol. So no, you can’t just save all those drinks for Friday night and expect the same benefit.
Some say it causes cancer, some say it prevents it — all we know is that wine has been correlated in multiple studies to a reduced risk of three different types of cancer. Breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer all have been shown to be less likely in wine-drinking populations — frankly, populations we’d like to continue being a part of.
According to a study published by researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles, compounds in red wine helped to stimulate activity in the brain, which could work to counteract the onset of dementia.
Studies have since clashed on the issue, again reminding us that even research-based conclusions often fail to hold up over time — but we hope this one does.
(Though it probably won’t help you remember anything while you’re drinking it.)
Resveratrol, the substance responsible for many of the benefits of red wine, has been shown to increase the number of brain connections made by wine drinkers to eventually improve memory. Just make sure your memory is good enough to recall why you should limit it to one glass — or risk the brain degeneration that could come with the excess!
In a European study, researchers showed that wine drinkers exhibited higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than any other group studied. Omega-3s are the “good fats” — the ones you want more of for their cancer-fighting, blood-pressure-lowering, health-boosting benefits. We recommend pairing your wine with a nice fillet of salmon for an extra dose of the nutrient.
Wine is chock-full of antioxidants, so much so that scientists have even tried to replicate it in a pill — and some of these antioxidants have been shown to increase the amount of good cholesterol, or HDL, in your blood. It also lowers the bad cholesterol, or LDL. So essentially, it’s doing everything you want to keep your cholesterol levels healthy and your heart happy.
In one study, participants who drank one to two drinks per day had stronger, heftier bones than the group that abstained. The one caveat was that this effect only held up for the female population, and has not been witnessed yet in men. Sorry, guys!
It might turn your teeth blue, but (counterintuitively) it’s also helping keep them clean. Wine helps reduce the growth of harmful bacteria on your skin and your teeth, so having a glass with dinner could help bolster your defenses against bacteria growth that leads to cavities. It won’t replace a visit to the dentist, and you still have to brush your teeth — but it surely couldn’t hurt.
Even the American Heart Association is on our side with this one — wine could help keep your heart healthier for longer. Red wine can prevent blood clotting that could steer your body dangerously towards a heart attack. Any type of alcohol could be helpful in this respect, but red wine does so on top of its other heart-healthy benefits, such as preventing coronary disease and stroke.
Drinking in the sun is still a terrible idea — but if it’s just one glass of wine, you get a pass. Wine inhibits the reactive skin cells responsible for reacting when exposed to UV rays. Their reaction is what results in the painful burns.
Some even go as far as to say that wine is an effective treatment for diabetes. We’re not sure we agree, but we do know that polyphenols found in red wine do an effective job at regulating blood glucose. That makes wine a fabulous, drug-free method for keeping sugar-related energy spikes and crashes under control.
We definitely don’t recommend you drown your woes in wine — but if you aren’t experiencing severe depression, drinking the stuff could help ward it off. One study associated drinking red wine with lowered rates of depression in participants.
Heavy drinking, on the other hand, is just as heavily correlated with an increase in depression — so just make sure you don’t cross the line into dangerous territory. Alcohol is a depressant, after all.
Antioxidants in red wine feed the good bacteria camping in your gut — these bacteria boost digestion and make you overall healthier as a result. The more nutrients your digestive system absorbs, the better! If you’re not up for a daily glass of wine — though at this point we’re not sure why you wouldn’t be — you could always try one of these gut-healing beverages instead.
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