The benefits of wine: enjoy it while taking care of your health

Wine is one of the most consumed beverages worldwide. For millennia, it has been an essential drink for many civilizations. However, many ask, is it healthy to drink wine?

This alcoholic beverage has health benefits that several scientific studies have proved, and wine can be enjoyed in moderation. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential, so we must prioritize what we consume without exaggerating its consumption.

What makes wine special?

Many alcoholic beverages are made from fruits or plants. Wine, in particular, is made from the fermentation of grape juice. Although there are many grapes in the wine appellations, this fruit contains vitamins C, K, E, manganese, phosphorus, iron, thiamin, B2, B6, and antioxidant and phytochemical properties[1]. Grapes have resveratrol, a natural phenol with favorable health properties that are not present in other alcoholic beverages.

Unlike other types of alcohol, the critical components of grapes offer several characteristics that have beneficial effects.

The scientific studies

The benefits of wine have been studied for a long time; however, scientists have not reached a clear conclusion. Individual studies suggest it has beneficial health properties in various forms. However, further research is necessary. Since Sumerian, Egypt, or ancient Greece, wine has been considered a drink with medicinal properties[2]. Although more studies are recommended to obtain more conclusive results, we have existing evidence.

Interest in wine has been renewed since the 1990s thanks to the so-called French paradox, a study highlighting that the French suffer very little from coronary heart disease despite having a diet rich in saturated fats. It has been suggested that the constant consumption of wine is one of the reasons for this good health.[3]

Wine prevents heart attacks

Heart attacks are one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and about 600,000 people die from them annually in the United States alone. Moderate daily wine consumption has been shown to help prevent this medical emergency by reducing the risk of death by 30%.[4] This is thanks to resveratrol, which is present in the skin of the grapes. When the wine is made, it preserves its properties, helping the cardiovascular system and preventing its deterioration due to age. Polyphenols (chemicals found in wine) help protect blood vessels with their antioxidant properties, and with consistent moderate consumption, you can maintain cardiovascular health.[5]

Also present in wine are flavonoids, which lower bad cholesterol, reducing the chances of coronary artery disease. The antioxidant properties of wine are an essential factor in protecting blood vessels.[6] Therefore, having a glass of wine a day can help protect your heart and lengthen your life.

Keep your gut healthy

The benefits of wine on intestinal health have long been investigated, thus contributing to a healthy intestine. Wine features intestinal microbiota, which is the bacteria of the intestine, many of which are beneficial, and polyphenols that can improve the microbiota by modulating its growth, thereby serving as a prebiotic food. In this way, the digestive system is protected and can carry out its processes normally thanks to the wine, which nourishes these microorganisms.

Against diabetes

In the United States, 26 million people have diabetes. Even with restricted and limited diets, these people can drink wine in moderation, with their doctor’s advice, since it is an alcoholic beverage that is low in sugar. Furthermore, some studies have suggested that wine may have health benefits for diabetics by reducing possible complications of the disease thanks to the ethanol present in wine, which has an important role in glucose metabolism.[7] Another study[8] related to wine and diabetes suggests that moderate consumption of wine can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in overweight people.

Prevents the consequences of stroke

A 2010 study[9] revealed that wine could protect the brain in the event of a stroke. The consequences of this medical condition characterized by a lack of blood flow to the brain can be devastating, causing irreversible damage or death. The resveratrol in wine can prevent the damage caused, making the consequences of a stroke less severe.

Resveratrol increases the levels of heme oxygenase, which is an enzyme that provides neuroprotection at the time of the stroke and can reduce the consequences so that there are no subsequent repercussions.

Against dementia

As we age, our mental health deteriorates, and we are more prone to dementia, which affects everything from language, memory, reasoning, and motor skills. Several studies have been published over the years that consider that light or moderate consumption of wine and other beverages can reduce the risk of suffering from dementia.[10] Alcohol is composed of polyphenols, which are chemical substances that have been associated with neuroprotective characteristics. In this way, the nervous system cells fulfill their function, and neurodegenerative disorders are avoided.[11]

Vision Loss

As time passes, vision wears out, causing people to go blind. Several studies have highlighted the healing properties of resveratrol when it comes to vision care, which can help stop the effects of oxidation, mitochondrial dysfunction, apoptosis, and other causes related to eye disorders.[12] Its antioxidant effect protects against macular degeneration and other retinal diseases, contributing to healthy and long-lasting vision.[13]

As is notable, wine has many properties and can benefit health. Although scientists recommend continuing with this research, it is noteworthy that it has positive characteristics. While research continues, enjoy a glass of wine responsibly.

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Key Dates

11/17/1991: On this day in wine history, the program 60 minutes on the CBS network presented a broadcast on the French paradox based on the study results by scientist Serge Renaud. This increased wine sales in the country.[14]

28/10/2012: On this day in wine history, the French scientist Serge Renaud passed away at 85. Renaud rose to fame in 1991 by presenting his study on the French paradox, where he defended the health benefits of wine for the French.[15]

06/06/2012: On this day in wine history, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a study showing that wine is beneficial for gut health[16]

01/07/2010: On this day in wine history, the journal Experimental Neurology published a study on the role of resveratrol (present in the skin of grapes) in stroke. The results obtained suggest that it can protect against severe damage in the event of a stroke.[17]

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[1] Szalay, Jessie, and Jonathan Gordon. “Grapes: Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts.” Live Science. Future US, February 28, 2022.

[2] Becca. “A Historical Perspective on Health Benefits of Wine.” The Academic Wino, August 10, 2016.

[3] Burr, Michael. “Explaining the French Paradox.” Journal of the Royal Society of Health 115, no. 4 (1995): 217–19.

[4] Burr, Michael. “Explaining the French Paradox.” Journal of the Royal Society of Health 115, no. 4 (1995): 217–19.

[5] Higgins, Lindsey, and Erica Llanos. “A Healthy Indulgence? Wine Consumers and the Health Benefits of Wine.” Wine Economics and Policy 4, no. 1 (2015): 3–11.

[6] “Red Wine and Resveratrol: Good for Your Heart?” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, January 14, 2022.

[7] Fagherazzi, Guy et al. “Wine Consumption throughout Life Is Inversely Associated with Type 2 Diabetes Risk, but Only in Overweight Individuals: Results from a Large Female French Cohort Study.” European Journal of Epidemiology 29, no. 11 (2014): 831–39.

[8] Gepner, Yftach et al. “Effects of Initiating Moderate Alcohol Intake on Cardiometabolic Risk in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes.” Annals of Internal Medicine 163, no. 8 (2015): 569–79.

[9] Sakata, Yoshihito et al. “Resveratrol Protects against Experimental Stroke: Putative Neuroprotective Role of Heme Oxygenase 1.” Experimental Neurology 224, no. 1 (July 2010): 325–29.

[10] Letenneur, Luc. “Risk of Dementia and Alcohol and Wine Consumption: A Review of Recent Results.” Biological Research 37, no. 2 (2004).

[11] Smith, Jamie. “Red Wine: Benefits and Risks.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, April 21, 2020.

[12] Abu-Amero, Khaled et al. “Resveratrol and Ophthalmic Diseases.” Nutrients 8, no. 4 (2016): 200.

[13] King, Robert et al. “Resveratrol Reduces Oxidation and Proliferation of Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells via Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase Inhibition.” Chemico-Biological Interactions 151, no. 2 (2005): 143–49.

[14] Prial, Frank. “Wine Talk.” The New York Times. , December 25, 1991.

[15] Frank, Mitch. “Serge Renaud, ‘Father of the French Paradox,” Dies at 85.” Wine Spectator. , November 1, 2012.

[16] Queipo-Ortuño, María et al. “Influence of Red Wine Polyphenols and Ethanol on the Gut Microbiota Ecology and Biochemical Biomarkers.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 95, no. 6 (2012): 1323–34.

[17] Sakata, Yoshihito et al. “Resveratrol Protects against Experimental Stroke: Putative Neuroprotective Role of Heme Oxygenase 1.” Experimental Neurology 224, no. 1 (July 2010): 325–29.

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