September 25, 2021.- People have been drinking wine for thousands of years, and the benefits of doing so have been well documented .
Emerging research continues to suggest that drinking wine in moderation — about a glass per day — offers several benefits.
This article explains everything you need to know about the health benefits of drinking wine, which type is healthiest, and its potential downsides.
Potential benefits of drinking wine
There are several benefits to drinking a glass of wine.
Rich in antioxidants
There are many antioxidant-rich foods and beverages, and wine is one of them.
Antioxidants are compounds that prevent cellular damage caused by inflammation and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a condition caused by an imbalance between antioxidants and unstable molecules called free radicals, which can damage your cells.
Grapes have high levels of polyphenols, which are antioxidants that have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.
Because red wine grapes are higher in antioxidants than white grape varieties, drinking red wine may increase your blood antioxidant levels to a greater extent than drinking white.
In fact, one 2-week study in 40 adults found that consuming 13.5 ounces (400 ml) of red wine daily increased antioxidant status.
Higher antioxidant status is associated with a decreased risk of disease. For example, drinking red wine has been associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, which are associated with oxidative stress .
May help combat inflammation
Wine contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Chronic inflammation is harmful and may increase the risk of conditions such as heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and certain cancers. Therefore, it’s best to prevent this type of inflammation as much as possible.
Chronic inflammation can be reduced through diet, stress reduction, and exercise.
Many foods have the power to reduce inflammation, and wine is thought to be one of them.
Studies suggest that a compound called resveratrol in wine has anti-inflammatory properties and may benefit health .
One study in 4,461 adults demonstrated that moderate consumption of wine was linked to a reduced inflammatory response.
Participants in this study self-reported their alcohol intake. Those who consumed up to 1.4 ounces (40 grams) of alcohol per day experienced less inflammation than those who didn’t drink .
What’s more, in a study including 2,900 women, those who consumed a glass of wine daily had significantly reduced inflammatory markers compared with women who abstained from alcohol.
On the other hand, other research has found red wine to have a less dramatic effect.
A study in 87 adults of an average age of 50 found that drinking 5 ounces (150 ml) of red wine daily caused only slight reductions in inflammatory markers compared with abstaining from alcohol.
Although the research is promising, more studies are needed to better understand the anti-inflammatory benefits of wine.
May benefit heart health
Studies show that individuals who consume moderate amounts of wine have reduced rates of heart disease.
Researchers believe that red wine’s high concentration of polyphenol antioxidants can help reduce your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and metabolic diseases.
Some research suggests that drinking red wine may reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure, which may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Yet, other studies suggest that a daily glass of red wine does not reduce blood pressure in people with normal blood pressure or those who already have heart disease .
What’s more, wine may interact with medication that lowers blood pressure.
Furthermore, excessive alcohol consumption may have negative effects on heart health, including increased blood pressure and a higher risk of developing heart disease.
Whether moderate wine intake benefits heart health is up for debate as research in this area continues.
Drinking wine in moderation may also have other benefits:
- May benefit mental health. An occasional glass of wine may reduce the risk of depression. However, excessive drinking can have the opposite effect, putting you at a higher risk of this condition.
- May promote longevity. Studies have found that drinking moderate amounts of wine as part of a healthy diet may increase longevity thanks to wine’s high antioxidant content.
- May promote healthy gut bacteria. Recent studies have even suggested that red wine may promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which may improve metabolic syndrome markers in people with obesity.
Some research suggests that drinking wine in moderation provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits that may improve your gut bacteria and boost your heart health, mental health, and longevity. However, most research has focused on red wine
Which type of wine has the most benefit?
Many people wonder about the differences between red and white wine.
Unfortunately, more research on white wine is needed, as most studies analyzing the benefits of drinking wine has focused on the beneficial properties of red wine.
Red wine has been widely acknowledged for its high concentration of resveratrol, a potent antioxidant found in grape skins.
In fact, red wine has up to 10 times more resveratrol than white wine.
Red wine likely provides more health benefits than white wine. However, more research is needed, particularly on white wine.
The bottom line
Research suggests that drinking an occasional glass of red wine is good for you.
It provides antioxidants, may promote longevity, and can help protect against heart disease and harmful inflammation, among other benefits.
Interestingly, red wine likely has higher levels of antioxidants than white wine. Still, more research is needed to better understand which types of wine provide the most benefits.
However, it’s important to remember that drinking wine is not healthy for everyone, nor is it necessary. You can reap the same benefits by consuming a healthy diet.
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