David is an army-trained biomedical scientific officer, writer, and lifelong health and fitness enthusiast.
The Health Benefits Of Red Wine
Yes it's true; alcohol in moderation can actually be good for you. And red wine in particular has been shown to convey a large number of health benefits when consumed on a regular basis.
Alcohol aids relaxation and can help relieve stress. But the benefits of red wine go way beyond its alcohol content, as it is rich in a number of extremely beneficial, health promoting substances.
So in what ways can red wine actually benefit you? Well, here are the top 5 health benefits you can expect to experience from drinking red wine:
1. Red Wine Is Good For Your Heart
The main reason that red wine is good for you is that it is made from red grapes. And it’s the seeds and skins of the grapes that contain the majority of the health enhancing compounds; specifically powerful antioxidants called flavonoids and saponins. These have been shown to raise good HDL cholesterol and lower bad LDL cholesterol.
They also help normalize blood pressure, improve blood coagulation factors (which helps reduce the chances of blood clots forming), reduce inflammation and protect blood vessel walls from damage.
So drinking red wine can substantially reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. In fact studies have shown a reduction in the risk of death by heart attack of up to 50% in regular moderate drinkers of red wine.
2. Red Wine Helps Prevent Cancer
There’s growing evidence to suggest that consuming red wine can help protect you from several types of cancer – particularly bowel, ovary and prostate cancers. This is because the antioxidants in red wine help prevent the oxidative damage that can lead to the formation of cancer cells. And they can also kill off newly formed cancer cells as well.
3. Red Wine Slows The Signs Of Ageing
Red wine is great for your skin too, promoting a youthful appearance and delaying the signs of ageing. In fact the antioxidants in red wine will help slow down the ageing process in general, and offer some protection against a wide range of age-related degenerative diseases.
4. Red Wine Improves Oral Health
Red wine reduces inflammation of the gums and it also helps prevent harmful bacteria from sticking to them. So it will reduce plaque buildup and cavity formation as well as helping to prevent and treat gum disease.
5. Red Wine Improves Your Mood And Can Help You Relax
It’s not just the alcohol content of red wine that improves your mood. The flavonoids it contains help to reduce cortisol (stress hormone) output, so relieving the symptoms of stress. They also increase serotonin output in the brain which makes you feel good.
So drinking red wine can help alleviate stress, calm the mind and make you feel happier.
You may have heard claims that it’s the resveratrol in red wine that is responsible for many of its health benefits. But this is not really the case as the amount of resveratrol in red wine is very low, and not nearly enough to have any real effect by itself. A glass of red wine contains just 1mg of resveratrol on average, which is fairly insignificant. You can get resveratrol supplements which may contain as much as 250mg of resveratrol, or even more. But even these are over-hyped, and the benefits of red wine come from the synergistic interaction of a multitude of ingredients – not just from one single isolated substance.
It is of course important to choose a good quality red wine if you want to get the maximum benefits. And a good indication of how beneficial a wine is likely to be is how dark it is. A darker wine will usually contain a higher level of antioxidants, and will therefore provide greater benefits. Also wines that have been fermented for a longer period of time and contain higher levels of tannins will provide more benefit too. But these tend to be somewhat bitter tasting and not to everyone’s taste.
My particular favorite is cabernet sauvignon; a dark, rich wine with deep berry flavors, smooth tanins and a hint of spice. These come not only from Europe, but also from Australia, South Africa, Chile and California, and they generally offer very good quality at a reasonable price.
The most important point to remember however is that you'll only experience the benefits that red wine has to offer if you drink it in moderation. That means about 6 to 8 ounces per day, 5 or 6 days per week, for women and 8 to 12 ounces per day for men.
Excessive consumption will have just the opposite effect, leading to increased disease in the body, accelerated aging and the longer term implications of liver cirrhosis and possible alcoholism.
Also, if you are prone to migraines, are pregnant or are taking any medication that might be affected by alcohol, you should give red wine a miss.
For everyone else though, enjoy your red wine in moderation and you can experience all these health benefits and more besides.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
David (author) from Birmingham, UK on March 12, 2018:
Thanks Anita; me too (don't know who Alex is though).
Anita Hasch from Port Elizabeth on March 11, 2018:
Interesting article Alex. I like the anti ageing assistance red wine provides.
David (author) from Birmingham, UK on June 05, 2014:
Thank you Alex. Glad to hear about your good cholesterol levels - yep red wine can certainly help with that. :)
Alex Fabelli from Miami, Florida on June 05, 2014:
Great article and I agree 100%. I am getting up there in age and during my last physical my doctor was surprised about my "good" cholesterol levels. He questioned if I drink red wine and when I said yes, he confirmed that red wine has health benefits...obviously for cholesterol as well.