Have you heard that drinking wine is good for your health? Some people will laugh at that while others will raise their eyebrows. What you really want to know is whether there is any truth in that statement.
The simple answer is yes, but there is much more that you need to consider. You won’t benefit from drinking a whole bottle a night, and you need to drink the right type of wine. Here’s all you need to know about the benefits of drinking wine and how to take advantage of them.
Before going into the details of how to get the benefits, it’s worth knowing how you can benefit. Did you know that there are benefits for your heart, head and weight? Here’s a look at them all.
Improve Your Heart Health
One of the biggest benefits is to your heart, which offers numerous other health benefits. This benefit has been noticed in various studies, especially those that have collected reports. Researchers have looked at people who drink no wine at all and those who have a couple of glasses now and then. The risk of dying young is reduced by almost a third by just drinking a glass of wine every now and then.
This benefit wasn’t just noticed in wine drinkers. It was found in those who drank a little alcohol, but wine offers the most benefits.
People noticed a lower risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. Various studies have shown that the arteries dilate, which means the blood can flow properly. There are fewer blockages, which cause heart attacks and strokes. Your heart muscles aren’t put under as much strain since the blood supply hasn’t been cut by clots.
Cholesterol levels are kept under control, which also helps to boost the health of the arteries. Just drinking a glass or two a day could help to prevent artery damage due to bad cholesterol, by improving the rate of good cholesterol in the body. Even when the good cholesterol levels are low, the phenols in the wine will protect the arteries from damage.
Boost Your Weight Loss
Did you know a glass of red wine a day could actually help boost your weight loss efforts? Studies have shown that those who drink moderately have smaller waists that those who drink infrequently or not at all. Beer can also help with this, but it is important to drink in moderation. The waists are also smaller compared to those who opt for liquor!
The alcohol encourages the body to burn more calories. This can happen for as long as 90 minutes after you enjoy your tipple so you can burn more calories than you have consumed. It becomes easier to create a calorie deficit in the body, meaning that you can actually lose weight.
There are limitations to this. You will still need to think about your overall diet and the amount that you actually drink. The benefits come from drinking a glass or two a day when you follow a healthy and balanced diet. This doesn’t work if you snack while you’re drinking or if you drink more after those glasses of wine.
It’s best to stick to wine with your meal to really get the benefits. You’ll soon find that your weight loss efforts are much easier.
Protect Against Cancer
Right now, it seems like everything causes cancer, but that isn’t the case when the wine is involved. Wine contains ingredients that help to kill off the Big C. The phenols that help to keep the heart healthy also help to keep the cells healthy. They slow down the cancerous cell growth, especially when it comes to breast and prostate cancer.
Liver cancer cells can also be slowed and prevented from further growth through the antioxidants in wine. The antioxidants fight against the free radicals in the body, which cause dead and damaged cells to form abnormally.
The School of Dentistry at the University of Missouri has also found that oral cancer can be prevented through drinking wine, especially red. It is worth pointing out that too much can also be damaging to the teeth, and red wine can lead to staining. This is one of the reasons why you need to drink it in moderation. The good news is the oral cancer is fought off by the antioxidants, especially resveratrol and quercetin.
Ovarian cancer is also something that can be fought against through the drinking of wine. Australian researchers have found that a glass a day keeps women free from ovarian cancer, reducing the risk by 50% compared to non-drinkers. Researchers at the University of Hawaii have also found the same thing, and the antioxidants have been praised for this benefit. Some studies have even found that the red wine can kill ovarian cells. This was done in a test tube, but it shows the potential benefits in the body.
Boost Your Bone and Teeth Health
Fighting against cancer cells isn’t the only way your teeth and bones will be protected. Wine also helps to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, which is when the bones thin and is usually related to age. The body struggles to absorb calcium, weakening the structure of the bones and teeth. When you drink wine, you can absorb more calcium to keep the structures thicker and able to handle more.
This benefit has been noted when you drink between 11g and 29g per day. This is only between one and three glasses of wine so you can enjoy one with your meal at the end of your long day. There’s no need to feel guilty! Any more than that and you undo the benefits and damage your bones even more.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study where 500 elderly women had their bone mineral density tested. Those who drank moderately had bone densities higher by between 12% and 16% compared to those who didn’t drink at all. Men can also benefit as proven by a Finnish study.
It is still worth enjoying a healthy and balanced diet with your wine. You will still need to get plenty of calcium in your diet, whether it is through food or supplements. Getting enough vitamin D will also help your body absorb the mineral so you can give your bones the best chance of development and protection.
Help to Reduce Type 2 Diabetes
If you’ve been diagnosed as a diabetic or are a pre-diabetic, you need to make changes to your lifestyle. One of those changes could be to drink wine moderately. There are studies that show diabetes can be prevented and reversed through the alcohol.
Unfortunately, the studies don’t show why this is the case. They just show that women drinking a glass a day are 40% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, and there is the chance that the condition can be reversed. Scientists believe that it is due to the amount of sugars in the body and the insulin response that occurs afterwards.
Diabetes patients may see a reduction in the resistance to insulin. The body handles it more, meaning the need for medication is not as necessary.
Never reduce your medication without a discussion with your doctor. It is important to follow medical advice. You will also find that following a healthy and balanced diet that is lower in refined sugar will help you to lose weight and reduce your diabetes medication.
Reduce the Risk of Infection
Those who drink wine will also find that they reduce the risk of infection. Their bodies will have better defences when bacterial and viral infections hit the system. One study has shown that wine helps to reduce the risk of infection from the Helicobacter pylori bacteria by 11%. This bacteria is the main cause of stomach cancers, ulcers and gastritis. You will feel better about yourself, which helps to promote a healthier lifestyle.
Some studies have also shown that wine can help protect against food poisoning, especially when caused by salmonella. That doesn’t mean you can ignore the advice on handling chicken and eggs, but it will at least offer some protection when you have no control over the cooking.
When you are using wine to help, you will need to check the medication you are taking. Most medication will tell you to avoid alcohol!
Help to Protect the Brain and Memory
Wouldn’t you just love to keep your brain working the way it should? You want to keep your memory and avoid diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s taking over later in life. Wine can help with this.
Those who drink moderately, especially in older age, will find that their memories are much better than those who don’t drink. All it takes is one glass a day, and you will find the benefits.
This is linked to the same reason your heart health is protected. The wine prevents clots and will reduce inflammation in the vessels. These are both causes of dementia and cognitive decline. The good cholesterol levels are also improved, offering more protection for your arteries.
Of course, alcohol can have the opposite effect on your brain and memory. If you drink far too much, you are likely to have black spots when you wake up the next morning. This is why it is so important to drink a moderate amount to get all the benefits.
Red vs. White Wine: Will Any Wine Do?
Now that you know all about the benefits of drinking wine, it’s time to take advantage of them. One of the first questions is whether you can benefit from drinking any wine. Will red wine be better for you than white? Is there any benefit in drinking sparkling wines, like champagne?
The truth is that red wine offers more benefits than white. While the calorie count may be slightly lower in white wine, there are far more sugars in it. This leads to more risk of weight gain and can lead to teeth rotting much quicker than when drinking red wine.
There is more iron in your red wine than white options. This will not only help to boost heart health but also offers more energy to the body. The iron helps to boost the red blood cells in the body, which helps to keep the blood pumping effectively. There are also more of other minerals that help with the bone structures and prevent liver damage, among offering many other health benefits.
That doesn’t mean the white wine is pointless. There are still benefits and drinking that will still do you better than not drinking any wine at all. You will just need to keep the moderation on the lower end of the scale due to the sugar intake. If you do drink white wine, try to opt for the dried versions, as they will have lower sugar contents to help offer more of the health benefits mentioned above.
When it comes to drinking red wines, the type of red will depend on the benefits that you want to see. Not all are equal! Pinot noirs have the largest amounts of resveratrol, which will help protect the liver much more. At the same time, other types of red wine have more procyanidin, which offers more anti-aging benefits.
Always Drink In Moderation
Whether you opt for red or white wine to take advantage of the health benefits, you need to drink the right amount. Drinking a glass or two a day is the recommended amount. Any more than that and you will run the risk of health problems that outweigh all the benefits mentioned.
This doesn’t mean that you can consume the equivalent of two glasses a day a week within the space of a couple of days at the weekend and not have anything to drink at other points of the week! You need to space out the alcoholic units to really help benefit your body and brain. Drinking too much at once will negatively affect your brain and could put you at risk in other elements of your life.
Try to drink your wine with a meal. This means you will be less likely to drink too much, and you’re less likely to snack afterwards. You’ll also consume it while eating, which means all your sugar consumption occurs at the same time. Your teeth are protected from constant sugar throughout the day, so you get all the oral benefits mentioned above.
The recommended amount for men is up to two glasses a day. Women should drink one glass a day. This is enough content to benefit from all those health advantages mentioned above.
Opt for a Healthy and Balanced Diet
The benefits of wine occur better when you stick to a healthy and balanced diet. You will increase the amount of calcium you intake, meaning a better chance of absorption. You can keep your calorie intake down so you can lose more weight. You’ll also find that you get more antioxidants, improving the body’s defences and fighting against the development of cancerous cells.
You don’t need to stick to one specific diet. There are so many healthy and balanced options out there, some involve calorie counting, and others will involve focusing more on certain ingredients and food groups. Find one that you can stick to, or just make sure you fill up your plates with more fruits and vegetables.
The odd fatty meal isn’t going to do you any bad. This is the whole point of balance. You still want some of the bad and to enjoy yourself. One bad meal won’t make you gain lots of weight or suddenly cause a heart attack, just like one good meal in a load of bad won’t help you lose weight and protect yourself.
Drinking with food is a better option for various reasons. One of those is you’re less likely to snack or eat more calories than your body really needs. When you drink on an empty stomach or drink too much, you’re more likely to make unhealthy choices at the end of night. If you are going to drink and snack, look for healthier snacks, like vegetable sticks and dips.
Can You Really Benefit from Drinking Wine?
Drinking wine is beneficial for you. The antioxidants and minerals found in the alcohol are among the most beneficial for fighting against various diseases and ailments. If you are going to drink anything, choosing wine will be much better for your health, especially if you opt for red wine.
None of this negates some of the risks that come from drinking alcohol. You still need to follow the moderation rule, and you’ll need to think about the food that you’re going to eat with or afterwards.
When you want to fight against heart disease and protect your brain, drinking wine is something that you should consider. There are plenty of studies that show moderate amounts is good for you. Even if you just have a couple of glasses a week, you’ll do yourself better than avoiding it completely!
Just keep in mind that anything that exceeds the moderate amount can be bad for you. Though that case has not been proven with red wine, you still shouldn't risk your health. Always be mindful of the things you take into your body.