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The Benefits of Drinking Red Wine: How Red Wine can Help Reduce Heart Disease

Updated on October 25, 2014

By Victoria Postlewait

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The Benefits of Drinking Red Wine

Is red wine beneficial to your health? Recent studies show that consuming red wine daily can have a positive impact on your health. The key benefactor in red wine is the polyphenol Resveratrol. If like me, you aren’t a scientist, you may be wondering what a polyphenol is. Polyphenol is an antioxidant found in many foods. Examples include; legumes, honey, grapes, pomegranate, cranberries, cherries, blueberries and green tea. Polyphenols are thought to have anti-cancer properties and can reduce instances of coronary artery disease (Scalbert, 2005).

A Brief History of Red Wine

Red wine was thought to have originated in Ancient Egypt around 6000 BC. Although the origin of red wine is not entirely sure, it is believed that red wine was discovered by accident. Researchers say that it is likely that farmers were storing grapes and may have left residual grapes in their containers, thus leaving the grapes to ferment producing wine. The first known vineyard was discovered around 4100 BC in a cave in Armenia (Coffey, 2011). Over the centuries, wine making spread north to regions such as Iran, Greece and Rome. Wine became very popular in ancient Greece and Rome, and is still one of the main producers of wine today.

Health Benefits of Red Wine

Studies show that consuming red wine on a regular basis can be beneficial to one’s health. Benefits include:

Lower Risk for Diabetes

According to the Center for Disease Control, In the U.S. approximately 25.8 million or 8.3% of the population have diabetes. Red wine can help reduce blood sugar levels when consumed in moderation, and reduces the chance for developing diabetes later in life. The key benefactor for preventing diabetes are the lingands (ions or molecules commonly found in certain medicines) which are abundant in red wines. According the journal “Food and Function”, studies show that 1-2 glasses of wine contain more lingands that the drug Avandia, which is used to treat type 2-diabetes (Zoechling).

Prevents Blood Clots

Found in red wine, resveratrol is a polyphenol with antioxidant properties. Resveratrol has been known to have an antithrombotic effect and can expand the blood vessels. Resveratrol also aides in circulation, which can reduce the chance of developing blood clots.

Prevents Coronary Heart Disease

Red wine has proven to be most beneficial for heart health. Researchers believe that flavanoids (antioxidant compound) reduce coronary heart disease by reducing bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing good cholesterol (HDL). High levels of LDL create blockages within the arterial walls. Bad cholesterol can also harden the arteries, also known as arterial sclerosis (Yale New Haven Hospital).

Reduces Cases of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that progresses with age. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that red wine may be able to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and potentially stop it from progressing. Resveratrol in red wine interfere with the buildup of toxic fibers which can lead to brain deterioration.

Antioxidant Properties

In today’s society, the term “antioxidant” has become quite popular, but what exactly is an antioxidant? An antioxidant is a molecule that prevents oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation reactions can create free radicals, which in turn, creates a chemical reaction. In terms of a living cell, this chemical reaction can cause death or damage to a cell, an example would include a cancer cell. Antioxidants such as the polyphenol resveratrol can prevent oxidation process from happening, thus preventing cell damage. Red wine has antioxidant properties which may prevent the growth of cancer cells.

The French Paradox

Ever heard the term “French women don’t get fat?” apparently French women rarely get coronary heart disease either. Despite a high saturated fat diet, the French have a 42% lower risk than Americans of having coronary heart failure. This can be contributed to a myriad of factors such as eating more fish, smaller portions, active lifestyles and consuming more red wine. Resveratrol may be responsible in the lower instances of coronary heart failure, as it widens the arteries when consumed, preventing heart failure.

Which Red Wine Do I Buy?

When I first discovered that red wine could help improve my circulation, I drove straight to my local Total Wine. I must have spent an hour debating which wine would be most beneficial, but finally I had decided on a nice Pinot Noir by Deloach.


Pinot Noir by Deloach

Source


I enjoyed the Deloach Pinot Noir very much, but my favorite in terms of flavor would have to be 14 Hands Merlot. Merlot has always been my first choice as it has a medium body flavor, which is not too strong and very enjoyable. There are many varieties of red wine to choose from including: Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Grenache. Some say that darker wines are best if you are looking for high resveratrol content. I would recommend choosing a wine that you enjoy.


14 Hands Merlot (My Favorite Wine!)

Source

When Alcohol Becomes a Problem

There is no doubt that drinking red wine may be beneficial to your health, but it is important to not drink in excess, as this can have negative consequences. For women, the recommended intake of red wine would be one 5 ounce glass of red wine per day. For men, the suggested intake would be one to two glasses of red wine per day. Consuming too much alcohol can lead to liver diseases such as hepatitis and cirrhosis.


The Wine Bible

Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator

Refrences

Scalbert, A. (2005, Jan). Polyphenols: antioxidants and beyond. Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/81/1/215S.full

Coffey, A. (2011, Jan). History of red wine. Retrieved from http://www.redenvelope.com/gift-guides/history-red-wine-1/

Zoechling, A. (n.d.). Red wine: A source of potent ligands for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ . Food and function, 2011(2), 28-38. doi: 10.1039/C0FO00086H

Yale New Haven Hospital. (n.d.). Red wine. Retrieved from http://www.ynhh.org/about-us/red_wine.aspx

University of California - Los Angeles (2008, November 23). How Red Wine Compounds Fight Alzheimer's Disease. ScienceDaily.

Münir Oktay , İlhami Gülçin , Ö.İrfan Küfrevioğlu Determination of in vitro antioxidant activity of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) seed extracts LWT - Food Science and Technology, Volume 36, Issue 2, March 2003, Pages 263–271


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    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting read, Vicky. Thanks.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Great read and information. I love red wine and always drink it instead of white wine which gives me a headache! lol!

    • profile image

      Joyce Postle 4 years ago

      I found your blog very interesting and informative, thank you Joyce, Kissimmee.

    • Steve West profile image

      Steve West 4 years ago from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

      Great hub. I wish all of the same was true for my beer! Oh well. Good job and good luck. Read ya' later.

    • sangre profile image

      Sp Greaney 4 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks for sharing this. There's loads of great information here I've never heard about. Voted up.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Amazing and a thumbs up for your hub!

    • profile image

      Vincent Moore 4 years ago

      I drink a fair amount of red wine. My rack is always full and I also have friends who make their own and will often include a batch for me. Choosing wine for me simply comes down to taste preference. I find many benefits of drinking wine. It's stimulates my senses and creative juices. Thank you for sharing this hub with us, very interesting indeed.

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Very informative and easy to read.

    • Vicky022389 profile image
      Author

      Victoria Postlewait 4 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      thank you very much! :)

    • Vicky022389 profile image
      Author

      Victoria Postlewait 4 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      I just started getting into red wine and love it! I recently went to a local vineyard and got to try some fresh local wine, amazing! I would love to have a go at making my own. Thanks for the support!

    • Vicky022389 profile image
      Author

      Victoria Postlewait 4 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      Thank you so very much!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Comprehensive overview of this topic! Nicely done. Congrats on your nomination.

    • Vicky022389 profile image
      Author

      Victoria Postlewait 4 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      thank you randomcreative!

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      What an EXCELLENT hub, Vicky!!!! Everything about it is beautifully done, subject, research, sources and length. And it’s about my favourite thing, red wine. Yay!

      No wonder the Mediterranean diet is the healthiest in the world … voted up and shared all over the place.

      Congratulations on your Rising Star award - it looks as though you are going to have a very bright future with HubPages.

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      I love red wine... I'm glad you did a comprehensive and well-written hub about it, and its health benefits. Cheers! :)

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 4 years ago from United States

      Wonderful and excellently-written hub about my favorite thing. It's the only alcoholic beverage that I drink since I have low tolerance for alcohol, and I love it more now that you list all the health benefits of red wine. I love red, especially port. :)

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia

      The farm we live now used to be a winery and we still make our own red: shiraz and cabernet. Thanks for your interesting input:)

    • David Warren profile image

      David Warren 4 years ago from Nevada

      Well written! Enjoyed this hub, anything that promotes Merlot must be good. Thanks for the follow and voted "awesome"! Welcome to HP, looking forward to reading more.

    • Vicky022389 profile image
      Author

      Victoria Postlewait 4 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      Thank you David! I am a big lover of Merlot, so this is my excuse for drinking it! I also look forward to reading your blog and appreciate the positive feedback!

    • nina64 profile image

      nina64 4 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Hello Vicky022389, I found your hub to be very interesting. However, I'm not a big drinker of alcoholic beverages. I drink only on special occasions (which are few). But you present some very good points on the benefits of drinking red wine. This type of wine is used in cooking as well. Voted up.

    • Vicky022389 profile image
      Author

      Victoria Postlewait 4 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      Hey nina! Thankyou for reading, if ur not a big drinker you could always take resveratrol in pill form, resveratrol is the main ingredient that keeps you healthy and does wonders for your body! Thanks again for reading

    • bodylevive profile image

      BODYLEVIVE 4 years ago from Alabama, USA

      I heard of that but I just can't stand wine or any alcoholic beverage. My mother use to drink morgan david concord wine for her medicinal purpose and I really tried but I just couldn't handle it. Nice hub, thanks for sharing.

    • Olde Cashmere profile image

      Olde Cashmere 4 years ago from Michigan, United States

      Loved this hub Vicky. I love the health benefits of red wines and enjoyed all of the useful information you laid out. Voting up, sharing, and rating useful and interesting :)

    • Vicky022389 profile image
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      Victoria Postlewait 4 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      Why thanks old cashmere! :)

    • Glass-Jewelry profile image

      Marco Piazzalunga 4 years ago from Presezzo, Italy

      I did not know of the antioxidant activity of polyphenols, and in any case the list you provided of the benefits of drinking wine is very full and comforting for a wine lover as I am, a good Italian.

      Voted Useful!

    • joedolphin88 profile image

      Joe 2 years ago from north miami FL

      Had no idea that any form of alcohol was really healthy. Very good information on wine, guess its time to drop the vodka and go to wine lol.

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