With the New Year right around the corner, many of us are making resolutions to eat better, lose weight, or just to get healthier. You may think wine can’t be a part of your resolution, but thankfully, that‘s not true. More and more research keeps rolling in about the benefits of moderate wine consumption, and it’s not limited to red wines, as many had thought in the past. Below are the top five reasons to be sure to include wine in your New Year’s Resolution.
This is the classic benefit we hear about from red wine. Somehow, it helps improve the health of your cardiovascular system. Antioxidants are thought to be the main source of benefits, since they “slow cell deterioration. The polyphenols also help prevent the build-up of plaque on the smooth muscle cells, as well as inhibit platelet formation, which can lead to blood clotting.”
Beat Depression and Other Inflammatory Responses
Inflammation is the cause of many (some would argue, most) modern diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and depression. Researchers at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine report that resveratrol, a component of grape skins found in red wine, seems to reduce the levels of inflammation throughout the body, including in the brain. Lower levels of inflammation “prevented the depressive-like behaviors in animals,” and they are hopeful they can recreate this effect in human trials. It should be noted that rats were given resveratrol equivalent to 6 glasses of wine, far beyond the commonly recommended 1-2 glasses. Resveratrol can also be found in blueberries, whole grapes, dark chocolate, and in pill form.
Blood Sugar Regulation
Another component of wine, an antioxidant group called “polyphenolics,” is thought to be responsible for wine’s beneficial effects on post-meal blood sugar spikes in type 2 diabetics. According to food scientists Kalidas Shetty, Young-In Kwon and Emmanouil Apostolidis, “Red wine and tea contain natural antioxidants that may slow the passage of glucose through the small intestine and eventually into the bloodstream and prevent this spike, which is an important step in managing [diabetes].” Researchers noted that both red and white wine contains these beneficial antioxidants, though the level is 5 times higher in reds than whites.
Here’s one for the white wine lovers out there. Researchers have found that “nutrients in wine are responsible for the positive effect of alcoholic beverages on lung function” and noted that the benefit was more pronounced in white-wine drinkers than those who prefer red. High antioxidant levels in wine (and in the blood serum of wine drinkers) are again thought to provide the benefit.
Is age taking its toll on your ability to do mental math or crossword puzzles? Wine and chocolate are being studied in-depth after current studies suggest that the polyphenols they contain help increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Increases in blood flow and oxygen levels lead to “some improvement in cognitive ability.” The researchers also suggest that pairing the wine and chocolate could further improve the benefit.
This list is far from exhaustive. Health researchers continue to investigate the benefits of wine and pinpoint the cause. So, this New Year’s Day, raise a toast with your favorite glass of vino and reap the many health benefits.
Your turn: What kind of New Year’s Resolutions are you making? Does wine factor into your resolutions, or are you tee-totaling in an effort to get healthy? Let me know in the comments!
- 1-Yale University. (2005, March 30). Red Wine Protects The Heart.ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050325222705.htm
- 2-Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). (2015, March 30). Component of red grapes, wine could help ease depression.ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150330134415.htm
- 3-University of Massachusetts Amherst. (2008, April 3). Red Wine, Tea, May Help Regulate Blood Sugar In Type 2 Diabetics, Research Suggests.ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080402212428.htm
- 4-University At Buffalo. (2002, May 21). Drinking Wine, Particularly White Wine, May Help Keep Lungs Healthy, University At Buffalo Study Finds.ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020521072618.htm
- 5- Northumbria University (Date Unknown). Red Wine and Chocolate Can Boost Your Brain Power. The Telegraph. Retrieved December 30, 2015 from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/8495528/Red-wine-and-chocolate-can-boost-your-brain-power.html