For a lot of us, a glass or two or bottle of wine is something we enjoy responsibly in the safety and comfort of our homes among friends and family. We get it. Don’t overdo it, and if you do, don’t drive.
There’s wonderful news: Wine actually has many benefits that often are overlooked. Let’s talk about a few them. If you’re like me and are in a committed relationship with wine, pour a glass and feel good about yourself!
Wine Is Heart Healthy
Swedish research scientists at the Karolinska Institute found that consumption of wine, in moderation, helped reduce cardiovascular disease and hearts attacks. Everyone agrees that drinking heavily is bad for you, but those who drink moderate amounts of wine significantly reduce their risk of premature death. Let’s face it: They are probably much happier people.
Alcohol dilates the arteries and increases the blood flow, which reduces clots that could damage heart muscles. Consuming wine also boosts HDL levels, the good cholesterol we need in our diets. While those levels rise, the LDLs, or bad cholesterol, get whisked away before they can clog up blood vessels. Makes you want to have another glass just to be extra safe, doesn’t it?
Wine Fights Osteoporosis
It doesn’t seem fair that women suffer osteoporosis at twice the rate of men. Thankfully, we can fight it with our secret weapon: wine. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in April 2000 showed that women who drank one to three glasses of wine per day had greater hip bone density than those who abstained, or those who drank in excess. The denser your bones are, the less likely you are to suffer a fracture.
Wine Fights Cancer
If you have looked into healthy eating at all, you have certainly heard about antioxidants. Antioxidants have a role in fighting off things like cancer, heart disease and other maladies by neutralizing free radicals in our bodies.
Free radicals are harmful, unstable molecules that enter our bodies through pollution or from processing food into energy. They steal electrons from other molecules and can damage our cells and genetic structures.
In the 1990s, researchers discovered many fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that could fight off free radicals before they caused damage. This has increased the popularity of foods rich in antioxidants, such as pomegranates and acai berries.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, and nutritionists constantly sing their praises. However, did you know that a 6-ounce glass of red wine has more antioxidants than a cup of blueberries? Wine gets its antioxidants from the skins of the grapes that are mashed into the wine before it is barreled and aged. Drinking wine can provide the antioxidants needed to combat the genetic damages that could possibly lead to tumors.
Imagine that — drinking wine to fight cancer. Who wouldn’t?
Wine Fights Bad Skin and Eye Disease
Wine contains an antioxidant compound called resveratrol. Resveratrol inhibits the growth of the bacteria that causes acne even longer than benzoyl peroxide, which is often the active ingredient in topical medication. Wine is one source, but you can also get these benefits from consuming fruits and vegetable rich in antioxidants. They’re much tastier and less expensive than medication.
Resveratrol also limits blood vessel growth in the eyes. This can help control macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Studies on the eyes so far have been limited to mice, but it’s another good reason to have that glass of wine.
Wine Can Reduce the Risk of a Stroke
Wine drinkers may also be at less risk for an ischemic stroke. Taking other factors into consideration such as age, tobacco use and gender, moderate wine drinkers had less chance of suffering a stroke than non-drinkers or those who drank beer or hard liquor.
Wine Can Help Diabetes
Red wine is rich in polyphenols. Polyphenols in wine interact with the cells that control fat storage and the regulation of blood sugar. A glass of wine can regulate blood sugar as effectively as certain diabetic drugs on the market.
People who drink moderately have a 30 percent less chance of developing type 2 diabetes. The credit again goes to resveratrol, which increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Insulin resistance is a major contributor to the development of type 2 diabetes.
What else do you need to hear to convince you that your wine drinking is not only OK, but that it is actually an awesome idea? Wine can be a companion for us to celebrate or commiserate with our friends and family. It can make you the life of the party, enhance a delicious meal and, in moderation, can actually make you healthier!
Wine can help keep you happy and healthy as long as you don’t drink too much of it. But I won’t tell if you do.