Benefits of Drinking Wine
You hear time and again that wine, particularly red wine, is healthy for you when consumed in moderation. But what makes wine healthy, exactly? Is it the fact that it is made from fruit, rather than grains? And what are the health benefits of drinking wine? In this article we’ll uncover just what makes this beverage a healthier choice when it comes to alcoholic drinks. But before we begin, it’s important that we answer this key question: how much wine is good for you?
Just as a quick side note – obviously, the best way to stay healthy is to workout and have great nutrition. That being said, wine does have health benefits, and if nothing else, it’s healthy for the soul!
How Much Wine Should You Drink?
As with any alcoholic beverage, one should enjoy wine in a moderate manner. But what constitutes as “moderate consumption?” The answer will vary, as factors such as gender, age, overall health, and alcohol content of the beverage, etc., can determine what is healthy, not harmful, alcohol consumption. A study by respected database PubMed Central found that the optimal daily consumption to enjoy the health benefits of wine is 1 glass per day for women, and 2 glasses per day for men; in their dietary outlines, the US Department of Health and Human Services also backs these same stats.
Just as important however, is knowing how much alcohol a beverage contains, known as alcohol by volume (ABV). Wine is typically 12% ABV per 5 fl. oz glass, whereas as beer is usually 5% ABV in a standard 12 fl. oz beer glass; these figures vary from drink to drink. Given that wine is usually consumed from smaller glasses than those for beer, too often folks can end drinking more servings than is healthy. It’s best to stick to the recommendations stated above, and to enjoy your wine slowly: be sure to savor it. Now that you know how much wine to drink for your health, let’s look at what makes wine healthy.
What is In Red Wine that is Good for You?
As wine is made is from grapes, the beverage contains a key ingredient: antioxidants. Antioxidants, which are commonly found in fruits, are molecules that fight off free radicals—compounds that can cause physical harm and damage, leading to disease or cancer. Dark skinned grapes contain higher amounts of antioxidants than lighter varieties, which makes red wine usually more healthy than white wine. For example, the skin of dark grapes contains high amounts of resveratrol, an antioxidant known for its health benefits.
Since wine is made from fruit, the beverage is also inherently healthier in what it doesn’t contain, which is high amounts of carbs. Beer, which is made from grains, hops, barley and yeast, contains anywhere from 10 to 20+ grams of carbs in a 12 oz glass. Compare that to wine, which averages at only 2 grams of carbs in a standard sized wine glass.
What Are The Physical Benefits of Drinking Red Wine?
Regarding the physical benefits of drinking red wine, several studies have shown that moderate consumption of red wine is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, stemming from the antioxidants found in wine. The connection between how antioxidants help with heart health isn’t exactly clear, but it is believed that the antioxidant polyphenol, found in wine, is beneficial to blood vessel linings within your heart, by reducing inflammation and the likelihood of clotting.
The consumption of red wine is also linked to increased levels of HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol, while lowering LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. This is believed to stem from resveratrol, which is also shown to help reduce blood pressure. As for impact on blood sugar levels, studies strongly suggest that resveratrol can also decrease high glucose levels in diabetics.
The Benefits of Red Wine on Mental Health
While red wine is known for being heart healthy, less well known is the connection between red wine and improved mental health. Studies suggest that moderate red wine consumption can help decrease the risk of depression and anxiety. This stems from resveratrol, which blocks and controls an enzyme responsible for stress reactions in the brain. Scientists are so intrigued by this connection that resveratrol is being considered as a new alternative to drugs prescribed to those suffering from mental health disorders. That being said, too much wine or any alcohol can cause serious detrimental effects on mental health, undoing any health benefits to be had.
Wine’s Distinct Aesthetic
Wine’s appeal extends well beyond its health benefits. The beverage undeniably possesses its own unique aesthetic: that of being a distinguished drink. No matter your background or beverage of choice, wine is perceived as being classy. This distinction stems in part from wine being enjoyed by royalty and the nobility for many centuries. It also stems from visual appeal, of dark red liquid in a wine glass: have a wine glass in hand, and suddenly you feel quite sophisticated.
Wine’s unique aesthetic also comes from how it is made. There is something so visually appealing about vineyards: it makes sense that “wine country,” no matter where on the globe, has its own appeal. And of course, there’s the fun of “pigéage;” that’s the French term that refers to grape stomping, the traditional method of crushing grapes with your feet.
Wine is Good For the Soul
Aside from the health benefits of wine, drinking wine is a great social and mental outlet: wine is good for the soul! The consumption of wine stretches back thousands of years, and the beverage has quite a storied history: the Bible contains plenty of references to wine, many of them praising the drink as a blessing. “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments,” a verse from 1 Timothy claims: it seems that those living thousands of years ago were in the know about wine’s health benefits.
Fast forwarding two millennia later, and you have songs such as “Red, Red Wine,” and fun shirts proclaiming, “On Cloud Wine” and “Wine Not.” From wine tastings to vineyard tours, wine has a culture all its own. No matter if you’re a wine connoisseur or have yet to try the drink, you now know how wine can improve your physical and mental wellbeing when enjoyed responsibly.