Are Italians Healthier Because They Drink Red Wine?

Italians are known for their higher life expectancy (the 3rd highest in Europe and seventh in the world) and lower rates of heart disease. It’s thought the Italians long and healthy life can be attributed to a clean environment, Mediterranean weather, and genetics.

Besides these factors, diet also plays a major role in their higher life expectancy. We emphasize the modest use of red wine in the Italian diet. Alcohol consumption raises the risk of some malignancies and other ailments, according to several scientific research. However, other research studies claim that a moderate consumption of red wine increases health in plenty of ways.

A large percentage of the European population believes that moderate consumption of red wine is good for the heart. A European study conducted in France and Denmark in 2000, concluded that the French, who also have a higher consumption of red wine, have lower rates of heart disease. Red wine includes Resveratrol, a phytochemical that aids in the prevention of cancer and heart disease, according to a pathological examination.

The chemistry of red wine and its correlation to our well-being has been studied for many years. Some studies suggest that a glass of red wine is good for the heart, while other studies do not find any correlation between red wine and heart health.

Red wine benefits

Many studies advocating wine consumption suggest that moderate drinkers are less likely to suffer heart diseases than non-drinkers or heavy drinkers. This well-being of the heart is often attributed to the antioxidants (Polyphenols) found in red wine. Polyphenols keep our blood vessels healthy and prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. However, these suggestions have not been proven unanimously.

Some medical experts believe that Resveratrol, a chemical compound found in the skin of red grapes, may be responsible for some of the benefits associated with red wine consumption. Resveratrol has anti-inflammatory effects and may have the ability to protect us from cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

However, the problem with these findings is that there is no direct evidence linking Resveratrol consumption with any of these diseases. Nevertheless, researchers continue to investigate how Resveratrol may benefit human health.

Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide, so even a small reduction in risk because of red wine could have major health benefits. Some population studies have shown that those who moderately consume red wine (i.e., one serving per day) have lower rates of heart disease than those who drink less or none at all. Furthermore, polyphenols in red wine may help prevent blood clotting and, therefore, lead to lower blood pressure and less risk for heart attacks, strokes, and other forms of cardiovascular diseases.

Benefits of Red Wine

In-depth research has been done on the health advantages of red wine. One major benefit of red wine is its ability to reduce the risk of heart disease, which is often a result of high cholesterol and oxidative damage.

person pouring red wine on wine glass

Red Wine’s Antioxidant Qualities

Plant chemicals called flavonoids have several positive health effects. Many of the tannins we found in the red wine also can be found in many fruits and vegetables, tea, dark chocolate, and blueberries. When you pop open a bottle of red wine, you may get more health benefits than just a glass of fermented grapes.

The flavonoids found in red wine are purported to be good for your heart. Though it has been proposed that there is a definitive link between flavonoid consumption and heart functionality, there’s no evidence so far that suggests red wine is any healthier than these other sources of the beneficial compound.

Antioxidants prevent harm from free radicals. An excess of free radicals can lead to many malfunctions and disorders inside the body, like cancer and heart attacks. Flavonoids, a group of molecules formed due to the breakdown of food inside the body or upon the body’s exposure to harmful chemicals, are widely studied for their antioxidant effects.

Prevention of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Did you know? Red wine can help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s and help control blood sugar levels. The grapes used to produce wine contain polyphenols, which are natural plant compounds with antioxidant properties.

The Polyphenols in grapes include Resveratrol which according to a study published in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology, helps control blood sugar levels through a glucose uptake mechanism.

The Tank Garage Winery

When you consume alcohol (including red wine), your liver metabolizes alcohol instead of glucose. During this process, your liver stores more glucose than it normally would because it thinks that it needs more glucose for energy in the future. When the liver has the need and time, it breaks down all the stored glucose after the alcohol is metabolized, and blood sugar levels drop drastically.

Oral Benefits of Red Wine

Red wine benefits your oral health in two ways. It lowers the risk of cavities and prevents gum disease. Red wine contains polyphenols that kill bacteria in your mouth. To stop cavities, tooth decay, and bad breath, these substances interact with microorganisms. They also help prevent gum disease by keeping plaque from building up on your teeth, making your gums healthier. Additionally, polyphenols help with bad breath.

Aid in Weight Loss and Preventing Diabetes

Several research studies found that red wine contains several beneficial compounds for weight loss. The research suggests that the trying to lose weight consume red wine with a balanced diet, which includes healthy foods and exercise. Red wine helps lessen the amount of fat that is stored in your body, according to studies. The antioxidant Resveratrol is abundant in grapes, which may increase the number of calories you burn and help your body burn fat faster.

The new modern diet of Keto counts a glass of red wine as 0 calories. The most successful diet nowadays includes a glass of red wine for dinner.

One study conducted over eight weeks showed that people who consumed Resveratrol lost weight more quickly than those who didn’t consume it. Participants in the study lost an extra two pounds on average if they took Resveratrol compared to those who didn’t.

Red wine contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect cells from damage, and they play a significant role in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. There is also some proof that moderate red wine consumption may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

In another study, it was observed that people who consume about 17 ounces (500 ml) of red wine per day for women and about 34 ounces (1 liter) for men had a dramatically lower risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes than those who never or rarely drank red wine. Interestingly, the same results were not seen in those who drank white wine.

The results suggest that it’s not just alcohol but something specific to red wine that helps prevent diabetes. The Polyphenols in red grapes are linked with reduced insulin resistance and decreased inflammation, which can help prevent type 2 diabetes. However, the exact mechanism remains unclear.

red liquid poured on wine glass

Demerits of Excessive Drinking

Besides the benefits of red wine already mentioned, it is important to remember that only moderate consumption of red wine results in good health — so women should not drink over one glass and men over two glasses per day.

Excessive red consumption is linked with numerous adverse health effects. According to the Mayo Clinic, moderate alcohol or red wine consumption is beneficial. The key to reaping those potential merits is moderation.

The most significant health benefits is the prevention of heart disease and stroke. However, the Mayo Clinic cautions that “the same amount of alcohol raises the risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and some cancers.

Red Wine Vs. White Wine

There are also risks associated with drinking alcohol and driving, even for moderate drinkers. If you choose to drink, the Mayo Clinic states moderate drinking as one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

Summary

The health benefits of red wine are well-known, and wine has been a part of Italian cuisine since at least the times of ancient Etruscan. Wine is often considered a category of its own in alcoholic drinks due to its abundant antioxidants and polyphenols.

Beneficial compounds in red wine have been linked to lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Resveratrol, a component of red wine, has anti-inflammatory properties that can aid your body in warding off disease or infection.

While these health benefits are not enough reason for those who do not drink alcohol to drink red wine, they may be worth considering if you enjoy an occasional glass after dinner or on weekends.

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