If you are looking for an excuse to enjoy a glass of your favorite cabernet sauvignon, look no further. A 5-ounce glass of red wine may offer several health benefits including preventing heart disease, cancer and obesity and aiding in digestive health. Be sure to drink in moderation, however, as consuming more than one glass a day may counteract the positive effects.
Most of the health benefits of red wine come from the antioxidants it contains, specifically the polyphenol resveratrol. According to research from the University of California Davis, the best red wines are the driest, including cabernet sauvignon, petit syrah and pinot noir, because they have the most antioxidants. The antioxidants in red wine, according to an article published by the Yale-New Haven Hospital, may help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol, increasing good cholesterol and reducing blood clot formation. The Mayo Clinic also suggests that the antioxidants in red wine may reduce artery inflammation and protect the lining of your blood vessels.
Heart Disease Prevention
One glass of red wine can help the blood vessels relax, which improves how blood flows through your arteries and reduces the stress on the heart. But be careful of overindulging because just two servings of red wine can actually increase the heart rate and reduce the ability of the blood vessels to expand. According to a study published in the "American Journal of Physiology" in November 2007, the blood vessel relaxation effects may not be specific to red wine, but to any type of alcohol.
Cancer Prevention and Treatment
The National Cancer Institute suggests that resveratrol may inhibit cancer growth and reduce inflammation. The antioxidants found in red wine have also been linked to a reduction in the development and growth of some cancers, including leukemia, skin, breast and prostate. Additional evidence shows that an anti-inflammatory compound may be helpful in cancer treatment.
A 2012 study by Spanish researchers found that the polyphenols in red wine may help increase the good types of bacteria in your digestive tract, thus improving your digestion. Polyphenols are not easily absorbed in the first phase of digestion and become food for the good bacteria, thus increasing the amount of good bacteria. The increase in good bacteria in your digestive tract can also help improve your metabolism to help burn fat more quickly.
Just because red wine and alcohol have positive benefits, it doesn’t mean you should start drinking if you don’t already or increase your current consumption. Drinking more than one serving per day can increase your mortality rate, elevate fat in the bloodstream, damage nerve cells and damage your liver.
- American Journal of Physiology Heart and Circulatory Physiology: Dose-related Effects of Red Wine and Alcohol on Hemodynamics, Sympathetic Nerve Activity, and Arterial Diameter
- Fox News: The Health Benefits of Drinking Red Wine
- Yale-New Haven Hospital: A Glass of Red Wine a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
- MayoClinic.com: Red Wine and Resveratrol: Good for Your Heart?
- National Cancer Institute: Red Wine and Cancer Prevention: Fact Sheet
- Shape: Ask the Diet Doctor: Is Red Wine Worth The Calories
- PubMed Health: Influence of Red Wine Polyphenols and Ethanol on the Gut Microbiota Ecology and Biochemical Biomarkers