The Many Health Benefits of Red Wine
"Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance." - Benjamin Franklin
The Benefits of Red Wine
Do you enjoy drinking a glass of wine each evening to wind down after a long day of work? Do you sometimes feel guilty about it or wonder if you could be harming your health in some way? Well, no fear, research shows that drinking a glass of red wine every day has some pretty amazing benefits associated with it. The benefits of red wine include better cardiovascular health, immune system maintenance, reduced stress, and cancer prevention. The key is to drink it in moderation rather than to excess, which will lead to health issues rather than benefits. Read on to learn more about the many health benefits of red wine.
Red Wine Facts and History
Wine has been around for a long, long time and plays a key role in many religions and traditions around the world. The first known production of wine dates back 8000 years ago. Made by fermenting grapes, each type of grape produces a distinct wine. For example, the pinot noir grape produces the wine of that name.
Some varieties of red wine include:
- Pinot Noir
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Syrah or Shiraz
The wine resulting from each grape varies depending on many factors, including the location the grapes are grown, the climate, soil conditions, and treatment of the grapes once harvested. This makes for a very interesting experience as your taste buds will be able to savor many different tastes, even among the same variety.
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Health Benefits of Red Wine
As mentioned earlier, the primary benefits of red wine include cardiovascular health, stress reduction, immune system health, and cancer prevention.
- Cardiovascular health: Red wine contains a substance called resveratrol, derived from the skin of the grapes during the fermentation process. Research has shown that resveratrol provides benefits to the cardiovascular system by increasing the levels of HDL or good cholesterol. In fact, new research by Dr. Christoph Westphal points to resveratrol as offering life extension benefits by preventing many age related diseases. This substance in red wine is thought to be the reason why the French, despite their diet high in saturated fat and wine, have a very low rate of diseases of age, including heart disease. In order to get the full benefit of resveratrol, the wine should be sipped slowly to enhance absorption in the mouth.
- Stress reduction: No one can argue that a glass of wine, sipped slowly, provides almost instant relaxtion and because the benefits of stress reduction on overall health are immense, drinking red wine can be beneficial to health if you drink in moderation.
- Immune system health: Research in 2007 showed that both red and white wine have anti-bacterial properties against streptococcus. Red wine is also the only alcoholic beverage that doesn't suppress the immune system.
- Cancer prevention: According to The National Cancer Institute, the very same substance in red wine, resveratrol, that provides heart health protection also helps prevent cancer. Although the research is in early stages, they initially found that resveratrol prevents tumor formation in animals. In addition, research published in the October 2011 issue of the FASEB Journal found that the magical substance in red wine, resveratrol, actually stopped breast cancer cells from growing.
Moderation is Key for Red Wine Benefits
So now that you know all about the benefits of red wine, you may be motivated to drink it more often. Proceed with caution. Despite the benefits of red wine, if this, or any alcoholic beverage is consumed in excess, your health may suffer. Moderation is defined as no more than one four ounce glass of wine a day for women and one to two glasses for men. Beyond that and you'll risk liver disease, alcoholism, and an increased risk of cancer. So enjoy red wine, but do so in moderation.