Is drinking red wine good for your health?
Posted on December 08 2014Should we be including red wine in our diets for health purposes? I’m sure many of us would like to use it as a good excuse!
Well, it does seem that including red wine as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle may reduce the risk of developing heart disease, particularly in men over 40 and post-menopausal women. Alcohol thins the blood and therefore, reduces the risk of blood clots forming, it also stimulates the liver to expel a certain damaging type of cholesterol, this is one reason why red wine can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease or strokes. A link has also been made by German scientists, between drinking one glass of red wine a day and a reduction in the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease. However, these health benefits should be seen from just one standard drink a day, and no more.
Some scientists believe that a compound contained in red grape skins, called resveratrol, is anti-ageing, helpful in combating cancer and can also prevent obesity. However, these benefits have only been proven in the lab, and not in humans, but it is true that drinking red wine has been attributed with having these effects, which may be because red wine contains the antioxidants - polyphenol and tannin, which can protect against free radicals.
Polyphenols can also be found in non-alcoholic red wine, and in fact, in a study into the effect non-alcoholic red wine has on blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, it was found to be at least as effective as normal red wine. With regards to the effect on blood pressure, it seems that red wine containing alcohol is less effective at reducing blood pressure than its non-alcoholic counterpart.
It is also proven that drinking a glass of wine in the evening with dinner can reduce stress and aid sleep, as it depresses the central nervous system and promotes relaxation. The key here is just to drink one glass, as drinking a lot of wine before bedtime can interfere with your natural circadian rhythms and prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Another, and quite bizarre side effect of drinking red wine is that it can supposedly reduce tooth decay! A group of Spanish scientist have carried out some research which involved dipping cultures of bacteria associated with dental diseases into different liquids, and discovered that red wine was the most effective at reducing the bacteria.
It would seem therefore, that drinking red wine in moderation (one glass a day) is beneficial to health, in both its alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions, but if you drink more than this, then your chances of having a heart attack, stroke or chronic high blood pressure are increased and excessive amounts over a period of years can also contribute to liver disease, as the liver has to work overtime to expel the toxins from the alcohol.
As with all alcoholic drinks, wine should be avoided by pregnant women, people on certain prescription drugs where alcohol is contraindicated, people with stomach ulcers or stomach infections and is not recommended if you have a history of psychological disorders, such as depression, bipolar syndrome, schizophrenia or attention deficit disorder.
Therefore, in answer to the question ‘Is drinking red wine good for your health?’ we can say yes it is, if you limit its consumption to one glass a day, or alternatively, drink non-alcoholic red wine.
In my opinion, the best thing to do is to drink red wine because you enjoy it. Drink it with friends, as a little treat after a long hard day, or as an accompaniment to food. Whatever your reasons, as long as you are drinking responsibly, then I say go ahead - enjoy!