National Drink Wine Day: The Health Benefits Behind a Glass of Wine

People have been drinking wine for thousands of years, and the benefits of doing so have been well documented. Emerging research continues to suggest that drinking wine in moderation — about a glass per day — offers several benefits.

Rich in antioxidants: Antioxidants are compounds that prevent cellular damage caused by inflammation and oxidative stress.

Grapes have high levels of polyphenols, which are antioxidants that have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Because red wine grapes are higher in antioxidants than white grape varieties, drinking red wine may increase your blood antioxidant levels to a greater extent than drinking white.

In fact, one 2-week study in 40 adults found that consuming 13.5 ounces (400 ml) of red wine daily increased antioxidant status.

May help combat inflammation: Wine contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties.

Chronic inflammation is harmful and may increase the risk of conditions such as heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and certain cancers; therefore, it’s best to prevent this type of inflammation as much as possible. Chronic inflammation can be reduced through diet, stress reduction, and exercise.

One study in 4,461 adults demonstrated that moderate consumption of wine was linked to a reduced inflammatory response.

On the other hand, other research has found red wine to have a less dramatic effect. A study in 87 adults of an average age of 50 found that drinking 5 ounces (150 ml) of red wine daily caused only slight reductions in inflammatory markers compared with abstaining from alcohol.

Although the research is promising, more studies are needed to better understand the anti-inflammatory benefits of wine.

May benefit heart health: Studies show that individuals who consume moderate amounts of wine have reduced rates of heart disease. Researchers believe that red wine’s high concentration of polyphenol antioxidants can help reduce your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and metabolic diseases.

Some research suggests that drinking red wine may reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. Yet, other studies suggest that a daily glass of red wine does not reduce blood pressure in people with normal blood pressure or those who already have heart disease.

What’s more, wine may interact with medication that lowers blood pressure. Furthermore, excessive alcohol consumption may have negative effects on heart health, including increased blood pressure and a higher risk of developing heart disease. Whether moderate wine intake benefits heart health is up for debate as research in this area continues.

May benefit mental health: An occasional glass of wine may reduce the risk of depression. However, excessive drinking can have the opposite effect, putting you at a higher risk of this condition.

May promote longevity: Studies have found that drinking moderate amounts of wine as part of a healthy diet may increase longevity thanks to wine’s high antioxidant content.

May promote healthy gut bacteria: Recent studies have even suggested that red wine may promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which may improve metabolic syndrome markers in people with obesity.

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