Health Benefits of Wine

All of those bottles in your wine cellar may actually hold health benefits. Medical research suggests wine could be good for the heart, bones and even the mind.

Benefits from wine were questioned when researchers studied the French, who manage to stay healthy despite a diet high in cheese and fat. Their secret is moderate wine consumption that balances out the rest of their diet.

Most of the benefits from drinking red wine began with a study of reservatrol, an antioxidant in grape skin. When red wine is made, the skins are left on longer than with white. Red grapes from cooler climates are known to have higher levels of reservatrol. The varieties known for the highest levels are Cabernet Sauvignon, with Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir close behind.

Studies on reservatrol are still on-going, but findings suggest it has anti-infective and anti-inflammatory properties. It may be helpful in the fight against some cancers, including breast cancer, as it is known to elevate estrogen levels. It may also help lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

Drinking wine helps thin the blood and heighten the body’s good cholesterol due to polyphenols, chemical substances found in plants. In addition to wine, they are also found in beer, tea, olive oil, some nuts, chocolate, pomegranates and other fruits and vegetables. People in the Mediterranean who drink wine steadily, in moderate amounts, have lower risks of heart disease thanks to wine and other beneficial foods.

Other benefits that reportedly come from wine include: slower brain decline; stronger bones in women due to heightened estrogen levels and lowered diabetes risk in pre-menopausal women.

Of course, all of these health benefits are compromised during heavy alcohol consumption. The recommended intake per day is one drink for women and two drinks for men. (A drink is defined as one 12 ounce beer, four ounces of wine, one and a half ounces of 80-proof liquor or one ounce of 100-proof liquor). Alcohol also contains empty calories, which can lead to weight gain and other health problems, including heart disease. Some conditions and medications do not mix well with wine, so check with a doctor before consuming alcohol.

Open a bottle of wine from your wine cellar and enjoy it with friends or at a nice dinner and get some added health benefits, too.


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