It’s well known that red wine is one of the healthiest alcoholic drinks a person can consume; wine lovers often love to point out that a glass of red wine a day has plenty of positive effects on our health. However, do we really know what it is in red wine that makes it so special?
There are a number of elements within a bottle of red that are good for you, but on the other hand, not all red wine is equal in this respect. We’ve previously explained the health benefits of Palm Wine, but what about the much more popular red?
Throughout this article, we’ll lay out all the ways in which red wine can help you to be healthier. This includes the benefits to your body and even the diseases it can help prevent.
We’ll also explain the specific chemicals and ingredients within a bottle of red, recommend the very best red wine for your health and the health benefits of red wine. So let’s jump into the pleasantly surprising advantages of our favorite drink.
What Makes Red Wine Good For The Body?
Aside from the delicious flavors and earthy richness, what is it in red wine that is actually beneficial to our health?
- There are several chemicals and nutrients in red wine that benefit us in different ways, that are developed in the winemaking process, or come from the plants from which red wine originates.
- These plant-based compounds, or phytochemicals, can help our bodies to run better when consumed in red wine.
Antioxidants are always mentioned when discussing the health benefits of red wine, it’s famous for their cell-protecting properties. Antioxidants help your body to fight free radicals, which damage our cells.
Free radicals are produced in oxygenation and can lead to harmful reactions in our bodies. In the worst cases, this can include tumor growth and cancer. The antioxidants in red wine help prevent free radicals from ever forming, helping prevent oxidization and stopping their harmful effects.
1. Resveratrol and Thiols
- These are the antioxidants that are abundant in the tannins in red wine.
- Resveratrol, a polyphenol antioxidant in red wine can also be beneficial to heart health.
- This chemical can help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart, and reduce cholesterol.
- The antioxidant resveratrol comes from the skin of the grapes used in the winemaking process.
- Because red wine is fermented in grape skins much longer than white wine or others, the levels of resveratrol are considerably higher.
- Flavonoids are the most common type of antioxidant found in red wine.
- These are found in the healthiest red wines; resveratrol is a flavanoid.
- Others include catechins, anthocyanins, and quercetin; they come from grapes and berries.
- Polyphenols are one of the main flavonoids in red wine and a big part of why this drink is considered good for you.
- The nutritional compound of polyphenols has been shown to help fight cancer and reduce inflammation, amongst other exciting benefits.
- As well as red wine, polyphenols can be found in spices like star anise, and dark chocolate with a high concentration of polyphenols.
- Another flavonoid that we benefit from when drinking red wine is procyanidin, which may help protect the heart and cardiovascular system.
- As well as working as an antioxidant, procyanidin is thought to block nitrosamines (which are carcinogenic), protect healthy cells, and work with vitamin C to lower the risk of breast cancer.
How Does Red Wine Benefit Your Health?
So now you know what it is in red wine that can be healthy for our bodies, it’s time to find out exactly what these compounds do. There are a number of areas we can use red wine to target when it comes to our health, including heart health, blood sugar levels, and much more.
Read on to find out exactly how drinking red wine can help you to be healthier.
1. Hearth Health
- The benefits of red wine regarding our cardiovascular health are fairly well known, as they can help our hearts in a number of ways.
- The compounds resveratrol, polyphenols, and quercetin help to fight plaque build-up in arteries and can help to reduce high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
- The flavonoid quercetin in particular found in red wine can help relax arteries and prevent cell stress, lowering your blood pressure.
- Resveratrol might help prevent damage to blood vessels, and also reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDH) which is considered the “bad” cholesterol.
- Additionally, resveratrol is thought to prevent blood clots. Some studies show that this polyphenol can lower risks of inflammation and blood clotting, which in turn can lower your risk of heart disease.
- Antioxidants in red wine have also been linked with increasing your levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol, and also protect against cholesterol buildup.
- Resveratrol’s anti-inflammatory properties can be highly beneficial to anyone suffering from chronic inflammation.
- This includes autoimmune diseases, GI-tract disorders, blood clots, arthritis; the list goes on.
- Inflammation can cause damage all over the body, but resveratrol-filled red wine can help with this.
- The antioxidant resveratrol can help control our body’s natural inflammation responses, as well as assisting our immune systems in differentiating healthy and unhealthy cells.
The ways that wine can make you healthier don’t stop here though; there are so many more benefits to drinking a glass of delicious red.
3. Helps Fight Cancer
- There is some evidence to suggest that drinking red wine can help fight certain types of cancers.
- As we’ve already explained, the free-radical fighting antioxidants in wine help prevent cell damage and boost your immune system to function better, which is a great aspect of fighting and preventing cancerous growths.
- Specifically, the antioxidant resveratrol can elevate several functions of our immune system, like enhancing the effects of vitamin D and assisting some of the immune-enhancing genes in our bodies.
- Resveratrol even helps in lessening the progression of tumor cell growth, which is incredibly helpful in treating and preventing cancer.
4. Moderates Blood Sugar Levels
- Red wine is just as full of delicious flavors as it is resveratrol, and this compound can help moderate blood sugar levels after a meal. This is why it’s long-recommended to enjoy a glass of red with your dinner.
- Resveratrol can contribute to the prevention of insulin resistance, as well as other metabolic disorders, like Type 2 diabetes.
- This disease has diet as it’s leading cause, and those suffering from Type 2 diabetes are also at a much higher risk of developing heart disease, as well as other cardiovascular complications.
Study on Moderate Wine Consumption
- A recent controlled trial has proven that moderate wine consumption; which is a single glass of red wine with dinner each day, does, in fact, reduce the risks of heart disease in those suffering from Type 2 diabetes.
- The subjects of the study all followed a healthy Mediterranean diet. The study found that those drinking red wine had significantly increased levels of high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol.
- Also seen were lower cholesterol levels than before overall (including bad cholesterol) and a benefit to glycemic control.
- This study, as well as many others, have shown that red wine can have a positive impact on the symptoms of type two diabetes.
- However, it’s worth noting that these effects stem from polyphenols within the wine, that some from the red grapes, rather than the alcoholic beverage itself.
- Moderate consumption is always recommended, a glass of wine with dinner will make your meal much more enjoyable, as well as benefiting your health. However, we all know the ill effects of drinking too much wine!
The Best Red Wine for Health
There are dozens of different red wine varieties, with a huge range of hues, flavors, and aromas to enjoy. Each bottle of red wine offers a different experience to the drinker. It depends on the grape variety, the winemaking process, and a whole host of other factors, different red wines offer different health benefits.
The range of antioxidants and flavonoids in red wines mean each bottle offers a different chemical content, some red wines have more resveratrol, others offer a reduced number of calories. Whatever you’re looking for, we’re going to explain the best red wines for you to enjoy for your health, and the different reasons they might benefit you.
1. Pinot Noir
- Delicious Pinot Noir is one of the top red wines in the world, popular amongst almost all wine drinkers.
- Almost every wine-producing country offers delectable bottles of Pinot Noir, commonly with flavors of plum, berries, and almonds.
- They’re fairly acidic and easy to pair with food and drink with your meal.
- As well as being a very tasty wine, Pinot Noir is a great red wine to drink for your health.
- It contributes to good cholesterol, and usually contains less sugar.
- Like every red wine, Pinot Noir has a lot of healthy antioxidants, specifically anthocyanins, and procyanidins.
- These are excellent at reducing your levels of LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol.
- This means that the antioxidants in Pinot Noir also increase your levels of HDL cholesterol absorption.
- There are about 640 micrograms of resveratrol in an average glass of Pinot Noir (four ounces), which is a higher figure than most other red wines.
- The resveratrol in Pinot Noir is beneficial in the prevention of heart disease, making it a great choice for those with type 2 diabetes.
- Also a helpful feature for those looking to avoid sugar, Pinot Noir is fermented with a relatively low amount of natural sugar. Having less sugar content than other wines is a big bonus health-wise, resulting in fewer calories per glass too.
- This red wine is a great choice if you’re watching your sugar intake, as you can enjoy a glass without consuming too much, with the added benefit of resveratrol’s blood sugar managing properties.
2. Cabernet Sauvignon
- Not to be confused with the white Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied and bold red wine with unique and interesting flavors.
- Another incredibly popular grape, this Cabernet is grown all over the world and is one of the most popular wines in the United States. The best Cabernet Sauvignons come from California and France.
- What makes this wine so flavorful and aromatic is also what makes it a good red for your health; a great combination of flavonoids.
- These chemicals are excellent for cardiovascular health, helping to prevent heart disease and promoting good arteries.
- Additionally, cabernet Sauvignons offer another benefit when it comes to your brain. This blend promotes and stimulates the production of a protein called amyloid precursor, a great thing for our neural health.
- Merlot is a dry red wine less popular than Sauvignon Blanc, but equally deserving of your attention.
- Its flavor is fruit-forward with touches of vanilla and spice, and its health benefits are numerous.
- Merlot is rich in resveratrol, which is so beneficial to our health. This antioxidant protects cells in your body from damage from free radicals as well as an infection.
- Phenolics in red wine help prevent LDL cholesterol, and phenol is found in high levels in Merlot wine.
- This delicious dry red is also great for heart health, increasing the levels of good cholesterol and reducing blood clots.
- If that wasn’t enough, Merlot wine has also been shown to improve the bacterial lining of the large intestine, because it is rich in probiotics, helping the buildup of beneficial bacteria.
- Probiotics in themselves are also great for you in addition to resveratrol, reducing cholesterol, boosting immunity, and generally improving overall health.
4. Petite Sirah
- Also known as Shiraz, Petite Sirah wines have an enormous amount of tannins in a glass.
- This contributes to their fruity flavors, as well as many of these red wines’ health advantages.
- The tannins in a Shiraz red are full of antioxidants like thiol and resveratrol, which help create the dense taste that we all know and love.
- However, it isn’t just the flavor that benefits in this instance. Petite Sirah wines offer procyanidin, an excellent compound for heart health with many cardiovascular benefits.
Drinking Red Wine for Your Health
When drinking red wine with your health in mind, there are a few things to remember.
- You need to know how long red wine lasts for one thing so that you don’t end up drinking bad wine and wasting a perfectly good bottle.
- Additionally, it’s important to note that the health benefits of red wine which we have explained apply to drinking a single glass of red wine a day, to enjoy alongside your evening meal.
- The chemicals and compounds in red wine that are beneficial to our health come from the fruit, and if you feel like taking a day off and eating your dinner without an alcoholic beverage, the same advantages can be drawn from a delicious glass of cranberry juice.
- Overall, it’s quite widely accepted that a glass of wine a day will do you good, but of course, that doesn’t apply to drinking in excess.
Nowadays, people are more health-conscious than ever, and rightly so. With so many strange chemicals and diseases to be fearful of, it’s only natural to be concerned about what’s in your nightly glass of wine.
However, knowledge is power, and in researching the best red wine for your health, you’ve taken the right first step towards a healthier and smarter approach when consuming red wine.
Antioxidants and flavonoids like resveratrol are key when it comes to healthy red wine. Red wine can be helpful in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, contributing to HDL cholesterol and lowering cholesterol overall. It can also help prevent cardiovascular problems, and even cancer.
Antioxidants in red wine can boost your immune system by helping functions like the absorption of vitamin D; the benefits truly are endless.
If you’re looking for the best red wine for your health, next time you’re replenishing the wine cellar, keep an eye out for these healthier wines such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon. They’re rich in antioxidants and have lower levels of sugar and fewer calories per glass.
These are the main things to look out for if you want to enjoy a glass of red without negatively impacting your health.
There are so many health benefits to drinking red wine, and on top of all this, it tastes absolutely delicious. Go on then, you know you want to; enjoy a glass today!
Bonus tip: Check out this video to find out more about probiotics in red wine!
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