Kicking back with a glass of wine after a long day is one of the best ways to de-stress. Plus, if you regularly drink red wine in moderation, you are steps ahead toward leading a healthy life.
Red wine is made by crushing and fermenting dark-colored, whole grapes. The alcohol content usually ranges from 12 to 15 percent, depending upon the type of red wine.
Red wine has a good amount of powerful antioxidants, including resveratrol and proanthocyanidins. These antioxidants are believed to be responsible for the various health benefits of red wine.
Studies have proven that moderate intake of red wine could actually keep the doctor away. Moderate consumption of wine as defined by the American Heart Association is one glass of wine for women and one to two for men in a day.
Here are the top 10 health and beauty benefits of red wine.
1. Improves Cholesterol Levels & Protects Your Heart
A glass of red wine daily can greatly improve your level of high-density lipoproteins (HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol) as well as lower your level of low-density lipoproteins (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol). This is mainly due to the presence of the antioxidants resveratrol and catechins in red wine that help protect the arterial walls.
A 1999 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition reports that red wine inhibits the cell mediated oxidation of lipoproteins that helps maintain good cholesterol levels. The study also reports that white wine is not as effective as red wine and that the effect of the red wine is not due to its ethanol content.
In a 2003 study, scientists at the University of California, Davis identified a group of chemicals called saponins in red wine to have the ability to lower cholesterol. Red wine is a good source of dietary saponins. In fact, 1 glass of red wine contains almost half the amount of average daily dietary saponin content needed by the body.
In addition, the polyphenols in red wine can help keep your blood vessels flexible and reduce the risk of unwanted clotting. This in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and keeps your heart healthy.
Plus, red wine increases the body’s level of omega-3 fatty acids, which are also known to have protective effects on the heart and blood circulation.
According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Disease Research, moderate red wine consumption can help reduce cardioascular risk factors.
2. Lowers High Blood Pressure
Drinking red wine in moderation can also help lower high blood pressure. The rich antioxidant content in red wine is good for reducing vascular oxidative stress that contributes to high blood pressure.
Plus, it increases plasma nitric oxide levels which in turn relaxes the walls of blood vessels and improves blood flow.
A 2012 study published in Circulation Research found that dealcoholized red wine decreases systolic and diastolic blood pressure and increases plasma nitric oxide. This could be useful for the prevention of low to moderate hypertension.
To enjoy the blood pressure lowering benefits of red wine, make sure you drink non-alcoholic red wine.
3. Reduces Cancer Risk
Antioxidants have cancer-fighting abilities and red wine contains powerful antioxidants. Moderate intake of red wine can slow the growth of cancer cells. It is particularly effective for breast, colon and prostate cancers.
The compound resveratrol in red wine also inhibits the key action of a cancer-feeding protein.
A 2012 review published in Nutrients summarizes the main protective effects on the cardiovascular system and cancer that result from moderate wine and beer intake, due mainly to their common components, alcohol and polyphenols.
A 2014 study published in Anticancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry reports that red wine has strong antitumor activities through inhibiting tumor cell proliferation, inducing cell apoptosis, promoting tumor cell differentiation, preventing tumor invasion and metastasis, and further moderating the host immune system to kill tumor cells.
A 2015 study published in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology suggests that resveratrol directly binds to DNA and RNA, activates antioxidant enzymes, prevents inflammation and stimulates DNA damage checkpoint kinases affecting genomic integrity more specifically in malignant cells.
4. Controls Blood Sugar
Red wine’s natural compound resveratrol is also beneficial for people who have diabetes. It can help regulate blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion. It also helps activate a protein that helps regulate glucose and insulin sensitivity.
A 2005 study published in Metabolism reports that red wine consumption for two weeks can markedly attenuate insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetic patients, without affecting vascular reactivity and nitric oxide production.
A 2006 study published in Diabetes Medicine found that moderate red wine consumption is linked to a reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in women. However, a high daily intake of alcohol, even if only one to three days a week, may increase the risk of diabetes in men.
A 2013 study published in Clinical Nutrition analyzed the effects of red wine polyphenols and alcohol on glucose metabolism and lipid profile and found a beneficial effect of the nonalcoholic fraction of red wine (mainly polyphenols) on insulin resistance, conferring greater protective effects on cardiovascular disease to red wine than other alcoholic beverages.
5. Inhibits Oral Bacteria
Red wine can help prevent oral bacteria Streptococcus mutans from sticking to your teeth and saliva. This strain of bacteria is associated with tooth decay as well as sore throat.
In a 2014 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, red wine was found to have antimicrobial effects on oral bacteria, especially against the strains F. nucleatum and S. oralis.
These antimicrobial properties in red wine can be attributed to its polyphenol content and potent antioxidant properties.
Drinking even a small amount of red wine can help inhibit the growth of oral bacteria.
6. Reduces Unhealthy Effects of High-Fat Foods
Malondialdehyde, a natural byproduct of fat digestion, is known to increase the risk for heart disease and other chronic conditions. This means that eating high-fat foods can put you at a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and lots more.
But if you eat high-fat food with a glass of red wine, you can lower the effects.
A 2008 study published in the FASEB Journal reports that chemicals in red wine, especially the polyphenols, may reduce health risks associated with high-fat foods. But for this, you need to drink red wine simultaneously with high-fat foods.