Wine lovers — get ready to raise a glass. Although old news, red wine has been known to provide various health benefits, such as for heart health, cholesterol control, and in more recent studies, cancer prevention. However, red’s dear friend white has also been gaining momentum for its health benefits as well; so wine lovers rejoice – a glass a day can keep the doctor away. It is, however, important to note that studies have demonstrated there are more benefits to drinking red wine than white. Here is a breakdown of the various health benefits to wine, so pour yourself a glass of your favorite red or white, knowing you’re doing your body some good.
Note: The American Heart Health Association defines moderate wine consumption as one to two four-ounce glasses a day.
1. Promotes long life:
Although heavy drinking can lead to a variety of health issues, a number of studies have demonstrated that moderate wine consumption may lead to a longer lifespan. In a 2010 study published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, nondrinkers, moderate drinkers, and heavy drinkers were investigated to determine the lowest mortality rate. Interestingly enough, it was not the nondrinkers boasting the lowest mortality rate, but the moderate drinkers. Wine drinkers also have a 34 percent lower mortality rate than beer or spirit drinkers, according to a 2007 study published in the Journals of Gerontology.
2. Lowers risk of heart disease:
In a 2006 study done at Queen Mary University in London, research showed the tannins found in red wine contain procyanidins, a compound that protects against heart disease.
3. Helps control cholesterol levels:
The recent study, In Vino Veritas (“In Wine, Truth”), tracked a total of 146 participants, half drinking pinot noir and half drinking chardonnay, over a year. The results showed that in addition to maintaining a moderately active lifestyle, those who drank wine – either red or white – saw an impressive improvement in cholesterol levels.
4. Aids in maintaining brain function:
A 2006 study done at Columbia University suggests that brain function declines at a notably faster rate in nondrinkers than in moderate drinkers.
5. Reduces risk of depression:
In a study conducted by a span of universities in Spain, medical journal BMC Medicine reported that drinking wine may reduce individuals’ risk of depression. Over a seven-year period, researchers gathered data from over 5,000 men and women, using a yearly questionnaire to track details such as food tendencies, alcohol consumption and mental health. Results revealed that those who drank two to seven glasses of wine per week – men and women alike – were less likely to be diagnosed with depression. Taking into account different lifestyle habits and behaviors, researchers still found the risk of depression was significantly decreased in wine drinkers.
6. Lowers risk of stroke:
Unfortunately this one only applies to red wine (sorry white), but this benefit is a good one. Scientists have researched the health benefits of red wine for years, with studies suggesting a variety of good results. The skin and seeds of red wine grapes were found to contain resveratrol, a compound that is shown to increase certain enzyme levels in the brain – ultimately leading to increased protection of nerve cells. The process of turning red grapes into wine also increases the levels of resveratrol, all leading to the overall benefit of a glass a day. Moreover, according to a study done at John Hopkins University, the compound actually protected the brain from stroke damage in mice.
7. Helps prevent dementia:
Although a newer discovery, a team from Loyola University Medical Center recently found that drinking moderate amounts of red wine can reduce the risk of developing dementia. In the study, researchers recorded various data and academic papers, incorporating other scientific and medical publications from fourteen different countries. The results revealed that individuals who drank red wine in moderation were significantly less at-risk for developing dementia than nondrinkers, due to the resveratrol. Explaining that, in addition to increasing enzyme levels in the brain, resveratrol also reduces blood platelets’ stickiness. This aids in keeping open and flexible blood vessels, which in turn help maintain blood flow to the brain. Moreover, The Journal of Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment stated that, compared to nondrinkers, moderate red wine drinkers also had a twenty-three percent lower risk of developing dementia.
Although medical research indicates that red takes the cake for wine’s health benefits, studies have shown an overall benefit to one’s health when drinking moderately. So red-wine lovers and white-wine lovers alike, cheers, and enjoy your glass – after all, it’s helping your health.