Red wine has been studied extensively over many years with impressive findings suggesting it may promote a longer lifespan, protect against certain cancers, improve mental health, and provide many health benefits.
1. Lowers Your Cholesterol
Alcohol can have a very powerful effect and increase HDL “good” cholesterol by 20% if used moderately and in the context of a healthy diet along with regular physical activity, says Rimm, DrS, a Harvard researcher. Higher HDL levels are linked to lower risks of heart disease.
“The research evidence points to ethanol, or the alcohol component, of beer, wine, or spirits as the substrate that can help lower cholesterol levels, increase ‘good’ HDL cholesterol,” he says.
2. Prevents Colon Cancer
Scientists from the University of Leicester, UK, reported at the 2nd International Scientific Conference on Resveratrol and Health that regular, moderate red wine consumption can reduce the rate of bowel tumors by approximately 50%.
3. Prevents Breast Cancer
Regular consumption of most alcoholic drinks increases the risk of breast cancer. However, red wine intake has the opposite effect, researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found.
In the Journal of Women’s Health, the scientists explained that chemicals in the skins and seeds of red grapes reduce estrogen levels while raising testosterone in premenopausal women – which results in a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
The authors emphasized that it is not just the red wine that has the beneficial compounds, but its raw material – red grape. They suggested that when women are choosing an alcoholic drink to consume, they should consider red wine. They reiterated that they were not encouraging wine over grapes.
4. Controls Blood Sugar
The skin of red grapes—a rich source of red wine’s natural compound resveratrol—may actually help diabetics regulate their blood sugar, finds recent research published in the journal Nutrition. Study participants who took a 250 mg resveratrol supplement once a day for three months had lower blood glucose levels than those who didn’t take the pill. Plus, resveratrol-takers also had significant decreases in total cholesterol and systolic blood pressure. Researchers suspect that resveratrol may help stimulate insulin secretion or activate a protein that helps regulate glucose and insulin sensitivity.
5. Boosts Your Brain Functions
Resveratrol may also be the key to keeping your memory sharp, says Philippe Marambaud, PhD, a senior research scientist at New York’s Litwin-Zucker Research Center for the Study of Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders. The compound has been shown to hamper the formation of beta-amyloid protein, a key ingredient in the plaque found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. Marambaud suggests flexing your noodle by doing crossword puzzles and brain teasers for an hour then cooling down with a glass of wine.
6. Anti-Aging Benefits
Researchers from Harvard Medical School reported that red wine has anti-aging properties.
Specifically, resveratrol was the compound found to have the beneficial effect. The resveratrol in wine comes from the skins of red grapes. Blueberries, cranberries and nuts are also sources of resveratrol.
Head investigator, David Sinclair said “Resveratrol improves the health of mice on a high-fat diet and increases life span.”
Their findings, which were published in the journal Cell Metabolismoffer, was the first compelling proof of the definite link between the anti-aging properties of resveratrol and the SIRT1 gene.
Anti-aging benefits of red wine have been talked about for over one thousand years. Monasteries throughout Europe were convinced that their monks’ longer lifespans, compared to the rest of the population, was partly due to their moderate, regular consumption of wine.
7. Improves Lung Function and Prevents Lung Cancer
Dutch scientists reported on a study that looked at the effects of resveratrol, red wine, and white wine on lung function.
They found that, pure resveratrol was good for lung function; White wine was also good for lung function and red wine made no difference
A reviewer of the study wrote “Resveratrol may well be just the bystander of something else present in wine. The beneficial effects on lung function are probably related to many compounds present in wine, and not just resveratrol.”
According to a number of scientific studies, moderate wine drinkers appear to enjoy better lung function, the authors added.
In another study, a team from Kaiser Permanente wrote in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention that red wine consumption may reduce lung cancer risk. Chun Chao, Ph.D., said “An antioxidant component in red wine may be protective of lung cancer, particularly among smokers.”
8. Prevents Liver Disease
A study carried out at the UC San Diego School of Medicine concluded that modest wine consumption reduced the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by half compared to people who never drank wine. Their finding challenged conventional thinking regarding alcohol consumption and liver health.
The researchers reported in the journal Hepatology that regular, modest beer or liquor drinkers had more than four times the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease compared to the wine drinkers.
9. Prevents Blinding Disease
Red wine can stop the out-of-control blood vessel growth in the eye that causes blindness, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reported in the American Journal of Pathology.
Diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness among Americans aged 50+ years, are caused by an overgrowth of blood vessels (angiogenesis) in the eye.
The researchers explained that resveratrol is the compound in wine that protects vision. Grapes, blueberries, peanuts and some other plants are rich in resveratrol.
10. Fights off a Cold
If you hate getting sick (and who doesn’t?), the antioxidants in red wine may help keep you healthy. A 2010 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that among 4,000 faculty members at five Spanish universities, those who drank more than 14 weekly glasses of wine for a year were 40% less likely to come down with a common cold. Why? According to the National Institutes of Health, antioxidants are believed to fight infection and protect cells against the effects of free radicals, which may play role in cancer and other diseases.
Another antioxidant boost? They may also lower sex hormone levels to protect against breast cancer, says a study from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
11. Makes You Live Longer
Research suggests resveratrol – which was thought to be responsible for the better balance in older mice – could help humans live longer lives, by suppressing molecules which cause inflammation as well as compounds in the blood which interfere with the production of insulin.
12. Red Wine Prevents Tooth Decay
Red wine, even non alcoholic red wine, hardens your enamel to prevent tooth decay. Hardened enamel is more resistant to Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria which lives on your teeth and is responsible for tooth decay. The polyphenols in red wine can also prevent gum disease, and even help to treat it by reducing inflammation in the gums.
13. Helps You Breathe Easy
Don’t you just hate it when you are down with cold and you can’t breathe easy because of a blocked nose? Well, if you drank red wine regularly, you wouldn’t have to face this problem. A report in American Journal of Epidemiology claims that those who drank red wine had forty four percent fewer colds than those who did not.
14. Red Wine for Beautiful and Healthy Skin
Red wine also contains antioxidants which are essential for our body. They can slow aging as well as help you reduce your fine lines and wrinkles. They can also help prevent type 2 diabetes and also keep your bones strong.
Wine and grape derivatives can help reduce the damaging effects of UV (ultraviolet) light, scientists from the University of Barcelona in Spain reported in The Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry.
15. Protects from Severe Sunburn
When UV rays make contact with human skin, they activate reactive oxygen species (ROS), which oxidize fats, DNA and other large molecules, which in turn stimulate other enzymes that harm skin cells. Flavonoids, found in wine and grapes, inhibit the formation of the ROS in skin cells that are exposed to sunlight.