When you get home from a stressful day at work, or when you’re tired from the daily grind of life, it’s always good to take the edge off with a glass of wine. It’s true that drinking alcohol continuously has its risks but it feels so right doesn’t it? It’s even an essential part of Mediterranean diets. Well, you might be onto something like wine, in moderate doses, has a lot more health benefits than you think.
These benefits don’t affect everyone the same way, which is why scientists have gone through extraneous measures over the years to figure out what the magic of wine is. Men and women have been studied to find out wine’s possible benefits – from its place in helping the heart to how it can help the kidney or even something as small as improving cognitive and memory functions.
Now let us take a closer look at some of the benefits we can obtain from wine.
Raises Omega-3 Levels
Drinking a little alcohol occasionally, red wine in particular, can lead to a boost in Omega-3 fatty acids levels in the blood cells. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be responsible for protecting the body against heart disease, among other similar illnesses.
It Helps Alleviate Brain Damage After a Stroke
One of wine’s best features is its levels of resveratrol. Resveratrol is an antioxidant that can be found naturally in grape skin and helps prevent blood cells from forming platelets, which causes the blood to clot.
High levels of resveratrol also influence the body in many aspects, one of them being the brain. According to a test performed on mice, resveratrol increases the output of oxygenase, an enzyme that helps protect against brain damage, and allows the brain to defend itself when experiencing a stroke. However, tests are still being held on whether these are the effects of the resveratrol or not.
Helps Prevent Vision Loss
Diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration are leading causes of blindness among Americans aged 50 years and above. This is due to an overgrowth of blood vessels in the eye, known as angiogenesis.
However, thanks to recent studies, the resveratrol in red wine may have effects that diminish vision loss, which is usually caused by-out-of-control blood vessels. Studies are still being performed to see whether this could also work for cardiovascular disease or retinal detachment.
Prevents Some Types of Cancer
While regular consumption of most alcoholic drinks is tied to an increase in cancer, the seeds and skins of grapes and their respective level of resveratrol can slow down and decrease the risk of cancer developing in the body.
It’s not just them either, the aromatase inhibitors found in red wine (and some white wines) are also known to reduce estrogen levels and increase testosterone levels in women, which can help in decreasing the chances of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
Men can also reap the benefits of red wine, as occasional consumption of red wine also helps reduce risks of prostate cancer, mainly due to the antioxidants found in wine that take care of combatting free radicals.
Low doses of red and white wine also boost lung capacity, making it easy to breathe and keeping the lungs healthy enough to combat lung cancer.
Combats Heart Disease and Type-2 Diabetes
The most public benefit of wine is how, when taken in moderation, it can fight off heart disease. The resveratrol mentioned above help reduce these risks thanks to their antioxidant features and the same could be said with the flavonoids. Because of this, it also reduces the chances of clotting in the bloodstream as well as the coronary artery.
Other antioxidants in red wine are polyphenols, which help protect the lining of blood vessels in the heart. These antioxidants also increase level of HDL (High-density lipoprotein) Cholesterol which can in turn lower levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) Cholesterol in the body.
All that being said, these benefits mainly come up for those who drink wine occasionally and responsibly. Not only do they work differently for everyone, but if you drink too much wine, you could end up developing all of these issues yourself, especially since the amount of sugar in wine is still debatable.
One of the more significant drawbacks of wine to keep in mind is our good old friend – the hangover, which can vary depending on how much you drink and your ability to hold your drink. Red wine for its part usually contains a higher alcohol percentage than white wine; it also includes more tannins than white wine. This can interfere with levels of serotonin in the body and worsen a hangover in turn. So remember, wine comes with a lot of benefits, but it’s also good to keep its drawbacks in mind and drink in moderation to enjoy what’s good without enduring the bad.
Photo Credits: Virgin Experience Days, The Health Orange