Red wine’s health benefits: Why a glass a day keeps doctors away

Surprisingly, red wine provides a wide range of health benefits despite being an alcoholic beverage. Research suggests that moderate drinking of red wine can keep you out of doctor’s appointments. 

Keep in mind that you should only consume the recommended amount. This is one glass of red wine every day for women and two glasses for men. Otherwise, you may only worsen your health. 

The following are the most known health benefits of drinking red wine based on research.

1. Protection against free radicals 

Red wine is an amazing source of antioxidants, which are completely beneficial for the body. The dark grapes used in making red wine have the highest amount of antioxidants.

This includes the best ones such as resveratrol, epicatechin, catechin, and proanthocyanidins. In fact, resveratrol and proanthocyanidins are the most beneficial among them, especially in keeping the body in its healthy state. 

Your body demands antioxidants because they protect your cells against free radicals. They add to the development of chronic diseases, particularly heart disease and cancer [1]. 

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2. Regulates blood sugar

The resveratrol content of red wine is also known to help in regulating blood sugar. This is extremely helpful for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. 

Resveratrol refers to a natural compound found in grape skin that is used in making bottles of red wine. Many health experts consider resveratrol as a powerful antioxidant. It is simply found in grape skin and commercially sold as red grape juice or red wine. 

Drinking a moderate amount of red wine can lower the body’s blood sugar for up to 24 hours, which is significantly beneficial for individuals with higher blood sugar levels. 

Moreover, research further shows that resveratrol has some properties that can control the cholesterol levels and systolic blood pressure of a person taking 250 mg of resveratrol supplements on a daily basis [2]. 

After three months of research, health experts found that the participants were able to have decreased glucose levels in their blood more than those who did not take resveratrol supplements.

Furthermore, despite the fact that red wine contains natural sugars, it is still found to help effectively regulate blood sugar, as per the American Diabetes Association [3]. 

Take note: red wine is not equivalent to actual glucose management medications prescribed by healthcare professionals.

Drinking red wine must not be used as an alternative for blood sugar treatment plans. One to two glasses of red wine may only be added to the diet. 

lowers bad cholesterol

3. Lowers bad cholesterol

Drinking a glass of red wine is also linked to decreasing bad cholesterol in the system. In fact, research shows that high-fiber Tempranillo red grapes, which are used in making certain varieties of red wines, can lessen the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or simply bad cholesterol in the body [4].

4. Improves heart health

Both blood sugar and cholesterol levels affect heart function; hence, when you manage to make these two healthy, they can also have a positive impact on your heart health. 

Red wine’s polyphenol content is what makes it heart-healthy. Polyphenols are a kind of antioxidant that can help prevent fatal blood clotting by making the blood vessels become more flexible. 

In fact, you can also just consume foods and beverages that are rich in polyphenols to lower your risk of developing heart disease. 

Additionally, drinking red wine can shield the lining of your blood vessels in the heart while simultaneously promoting HDL or good cholesterol.

Having enough good cholesterol in your body can help flush out low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol. 

On the other side, when your body has a significant amount of bad cholesterol, you are at a high risk of experiencing heart disease and stroke. 

Therefore, drinking red wine may help decrease bad cholesterol that may cause artery damage [5]. However, drinking too much red wine can ultimately reverse its effects on heart health.

5. Lowers risk of cancer

Referring back to red wine’s resveratrol content, scientists believe that it also contributes to lowering your risk of having cancer.

Health experts have studied the dose of resveratrol on human cancer cells and discovered that the compound could block the key action of the cancer-aiding protein.

Some recent studies also emerged indicating that drinking red wine can help lower cancer risk by disrupting the development of cancerous cells, particularly the ones with a direct association with breast cancer and esophageal cancer [6]. 

Moreover, cancer researchers also emphasized that resveratrol, a polyphenol compound found in grape skin, can surprisingly kill cancer cells [7].

This is because resveratrol induces starvation among cancer cells by blocking the development of a key protein that feeds them.

Moderately drinking red wine can be beneficial in lowering the risk of certain types of cancers, particularly the following: 

  • Basal cell cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Prostrate cancer 
  • Carcinoma
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Esophageal cancer

6. Maintains memory function

Red wine’s resveratrol is also beneficial in keeping the memory sharp. Another interesting health benefit of red wine is its ability to lower the risk of dementia, which is a group of conditions affecting memory function that is commonly experienced in the elderly. 

Many studies prove that red wine consumption helps reduce the risk factors of dementia, which usually develops into Alzheimer’s disease [8]. 

Research indicates that resveratrol can inhibit the development of beta-amyloid protein, which is a key ingredient in the plaque of the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease [9]. 

A corrupted form of beta-amyloid is known to damage nerve cells, which may result in the loss of thought and memory of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Plus, many recent studies suggest that resveratrol has properties that can reduce memory damage caused by sleep deprivation, particularly memory deficits. Resveratrol can also boost the brain’s ability to learn and cognitive processing functions [10]. 

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7. Reduces the risk of depression

Daily moderate red wine consumption helps prevent depression

In a research conducted among middle-aged to elderly individuals, the researchers discovered that drinking moderate to low amounts of alcohol every day can result in fewer symptoms and a reduced risk of depression compared to people who drink excessively [11]. 

For that reason, people who have a few regular sips in a glass of red wine have a lower tendency to experience depression than those who don’t.

8. Positively impacts gut health

As you know, the more diverse your gut microbiome, the healthier your digestion is. Red wine diversifies your gut microbiome and promotes the flourishment of your healthy gut bacteria.

Having a well-balanced microbiome of good and bad bacteria contributes to a stronger immune system. 

Meanwhile, an unbalanced microbiome lowers your immune function, resulting in the body becoming more susceptible to fatal diseases [12].

Furthermore, red wine has an anti-bacterial nature that can treat stomach irritation and some other digestive issues.

Given this, red wine consumption has been shown to decrease the risk of infection from Helicobacter pylori, which is a bacterium commonly found in the stomach.

9. Helps manage weight 

You can keep track of your weight by drinking red wine. The chemical compound called piceatannol is converted from resveratrol, which can lower body fat cells. 

According to research, piceatannol fastens the insulin receptors of fat cells, blocking the pathways required for immature fat cells to develop [13]. 

Red wine's health benefits: Why a glass a day keeps doctors away

10. Improves dental health 

Several studies suggest that red wine can potentially keep your mouth healthy because of its antioxidant content.

New data suggests that moderate red wine consumption helps in fighting off harmful bacteria in the mouth, which contributes to tooth decay and gum disease.

With the benefit of preventing bacteria from sticking to teeth and gums, you can stop having cavities or plaque just by enjoying a glass of red wine [14]. 

11. Promotes eye health

Thanks to resveratrol in red wine once again as it is found to contribute to keeping the eye healthy. Red wine, with its resveratrol content, contains vascular-enhancing properties that may improve microcirculation in the eye. 

The vascular-enhancing properties prevent eye-related issues, such as macular degeneration caused by age, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, which all contribute to loss of vision.

12. Contributes to treating common colds

With red wine’s antioxidant content, you can be sure that it helps in treating common colds. The antioxidants are found to protect cells against any harmful effects brought by free radicals.

It plays a strong role in lessening your experience of the common cold and lowering the risk of cancer and other diseases.

Making your immune system stronger can ultimately protect your body against viruses, and red wine can also offer this promising perk.

Red wine’s high antioxidant content can boost your immune system as it helps in combating foreign invaders, such as bacteria or viruses. 

Summary

The recommended amount of red wine to reap its health benefits is one glass for women and two for men daily.

By following this intake, you can fight off free radicals, regulate your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, improve heart health, and lower your risk of developing certain types of cancer. 

FAQs

Is it OK to drink red wine daily?

Drinking red wine daily in moderation can be acceptable for some people, as it may offer potential health benefits, but it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if it’s suitable for your individual health circumstances.

What is the best time to drink red wine?

The best time to drink red wine can vary depending on personal preference, but many people enjoy it with dinner or in the evening as a way to relax and unwind.

Does red wine have side effects?

While moderate red wine consumption may have health benefits, excessive intake can lead to side effects such as an increased risk of addiction, liver damage, and negative interactions with medications. 

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[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/multimedia/antioxidants/sls-20076428
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6413130/ 
[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26458258/ 
[4] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/red-wine/art-20048281 
[5] https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24193626 
[6] https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2018.10.049 
[7] https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18122589 
[8] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2014.00095/full 
[9] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002192582059193X 
[10] https://doi.org/10.5114/aoms.2019.85463
[11] https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/drinking-a-little-bit-of-alcohol-makes-you-less-depressed-than-drinking-none-20230117-p5cd82
[12] https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2018.07.019 
[13] https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2012/120404KimPiceatannol.html 
[14] https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.7b05466 

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