You could say that red wine is the healthiest of all alcoholic beverages (although white wine isn't far behind) when — and this is very important — you drink one glass per day with a meal. Red wine is especially rich in nutrients and chemical compounds, including resveratrol. And drinking it in moderation, scientists say, is responsible for the following health perks:
Red wine lowers blood sugar.
A new study from Israel found that people with type 2 diabetes who drank a glass of wine at dinner, either red or white, had lower glucose levels than those who drank water at dinner. This isn't the first study to find that wine has a good effect on blood sugar, either.
According to a study presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Prague, adults with diabetes may be able to safely drink in moderation and still reap the heart benefits. The study analyzed 224 patients with controlled type 2 diabetes. Participants of the study were randomly assigned to heave either mineral water, white wine, or red wine (around five ounces) with dinner every night for two years. All patients were following a healthy Mediterranean diet with no calorie restrictions.
In the end, researchers found that red wine drinkers had a modest improvement in high-density lipoproteins (HDL), aka the good cholesterol. Those who drank red or white wine also saw a slight improvement in glucose metabolism.
“Obviously excess drinking is harmful, but there is no good evidence to discourage moderate consumption among diabetics who have no other contraindication,” said Meir Stampfer, MD.
Is red wine good for sleep?
Ah, yes. The age old question: Does red wine make you sleepy? According to Milan State University Professor Macello Iriti, the answer is both yes and no.
The skin, flesh, and seeds of grapes do contain melatonin — a hormone that has the power to control your sleep cycle. So it makes sense that red or white wine could make us sleepy. According to VinePair red wines also have more contact with the skin, causing the melatonin levels in red wine to be higher, and therefore more sleep-inducing. While a glass may help you get to sleep, a few glasses does not a good sleep make.
Red Wine for Weight Loss
While drinking alcohol is typically associated with weight gain, two studies by Harvard Medical School and Washington State University claim that drinking just two glasses of wine right before bed can help prevent obesity. According to the 13-year Harvard study, women who consumed two glasses of red wine per day had a 70 percent reduced risk of obesity when compared to non-drinkers. But don't just take our word for it. Accoreding to 47-year-old Linda Monk, drinking just one glass of full-bodied wine per night has helped her lose six pounds.
“The wine curbs my sugar cravings,” Monk told Daily Mail. “My long-held desire to snack on sweets, biscuits and chocolate after my dinner has disappeared and the relaxing effect of the alcohol makes me feel that, despite cutting back, I’m not being hard done by.”
Is red wine good for colds?
Wine is full of health benefits, but did you know red wine boots the immune system? In a recent study, doctors have found that drinking a moderate (there's that word again) amount of wine can help develop immunity against 200 viruses that trigger one of the most annoying ailments out there — the common cold.
The study, which included more than 4,000 faculty members and administrative staff, asked participants to keep a diary noting any colds they developed during the year.
Results of the study found people who had more than 14 glasses of wine per week had a 40 percent lower risk of contracting a cold than those who drank less. Cheers to that!
Red wine keeps the blues away — if you're over 55, that is.
After following nearly 6,000 people for seven years, Spanish researchers found that the wine drinkers were less likely to suffer from depression. This was true whether they drank one glass a day, or as little as two glasses per week. Those who drank more, though, were more likely to be depressed.
Red Wine and Memory Loss.
Researchers from Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago found that moderate wine drinking lowered a person's risk of dementia by 23 percent. Scientists speculate that wine improves blood flow to the brain, which keeps it healthy (and sharp).
Red wine reduces cavities.
Red wine has antibacterial properties, which means fewer bacteria can attack your pearly whites.
According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, red wine, with or without alcohol, and wine with grape seed extract both fight off bacteria. Throughout the study, researchers grew cultures of different types of bacteria responsible for causing dental diseases. They then dipped these bacteria swatches into different types of liquid, including red wine, red wine without alcohol, red wine spiked with grape seed extract, and water with 12 percent ethanol.
"This study is about applying something to the teeth that decreases bacteria,” said Gary L. Glasband, DDS. “The effectiveness of this type of product [red wine] depends on how long it stays on the tooth, known as its 'substantivity.’ Wine has a high substantivity, which you can see as it stains the teeth when you drink it."
Red wine protects against certain cancers.
According The International Journal of Cancer, men who consume one to two glasses of red wine per day may be cutting their risk of prostate cancer in half. "We found that men who consumed four or more glasses of red wine per week reduced their risk of prostate cancer by [around] 50 percent," said lead author Janet Stanford, who conducted the study with colleagues from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
Researchers analyzed data gathered in the 1990s from 753 newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients (aged between 40 and 64) who lived in the Seattle area. Of the patients, 498 had “less aggressive” tumors, while the other 255 patients had “more aggressive” tumors. Researchers used 703 cancer-free men as a control group.
Volunteers of the study were asked to fill out a questionnaire on their diets and were interviewed about their drinking patterns, smoking habits, and family history of cancer, income levels, number of sexual partners and other lifestyle factors. "Among men who consumed four or more 4-ounce glasses of red wine per week, we saw about a 60 percent lower incidence of the more aggressive types of prostate cancer," Stanford said.
The study also found that white wine drinkers, who had four to seven glasses per week showed a 36 percent lower risk than non-drinkers for more aggressive cancers.
Red wine lowers your chances of heart attack or stroke.
Numerous studies have found that red wine drinkers have higher HDL cholesterol levels — that's the good cholesterol that protects your heart. Red wine also keeps the blood thin, which means there's less chance of it clotting in your brain or arteries.
Red wine and grape juice come from the red grape, which has a few health benefits. Red grapes contain natural, heart-healthy antioxidant compounds (flavonoids and resveratrol). According to the American Heart Association, moderation is key. Men should drink no more than two drinks per day, while women should drink no more than one drink per day. One drink is defined by the American Heart Association as eight ounces of wine for men and four ounces of wine for women.
Red wine drinkers live longer.
Harvard scientists discovered that resveratrol may be able to revive the cells that protect us from diseases, which tend to wind down as we get older. When researchers looked at the effects of resveratrol in mice, they found that they had twice the endurance and lifespan of regular mice.
During the study, researchers examined muscle from two-year-old mice that had been given the NAD-producing compound for one week. Researchers looked for indicators of insulin resistance, inflammation, and muscle wasting. In all three instances, tissue from the mic resembled that of six-month-old mice – in human years, this would be like a 60-year-old converting to a 20-year-old.
So raise a glass tonight to your health. If you're not a wine drinker, no worries. You can get your resveratrol boost by eating grapes, berries, and peanuts.