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What are the health benefits of red wine?

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It's Wine Time
It’s Wine Time

Red wine lovers rejoice! It sounds like wishful thinking, but it turns out that drinking red wine may actually be good for your health, but only if done in moderation (as is the case with pretty much everything good in life)!

Research on health benefits of red wine

People have been wondering if the delicious drink has health properties for quite some time. There was speculation that monks lived longer than rest of the population and they attributed their good health to moderate, regular consumption of red wine, according to Medical News Today.

Since then, scientists have been heavily investigating this question––and the findings look promising. Over 1,000 papers have proposed that red wine can lead to a greater longevity, better health, and less cognitive decline, according to Helen Conibear, co-director of The International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research.

In the 1970s, scientists began researching wine’s benefits as they observed how the French were less likely to have heart disease than other populations even though they ate more saturated fat and are known for their love of wine. This finding is referred to as “the French paradox” and researchers are still pondering this paradox today.

What makes red wine potentially better for the heart?

Much research suggests that individuals who drink moderate amounts of wine daily experience “significant reductions in all-cause and particularly cardiovascular mortality when compared with individuals who abstain or who drink alcohol to excess,” researchers at the University of California at Davis found. It is theorised that substances in red wine may help prevent coronary artery disease that is the cause of heart attacks.

Red wine is high in resveratrol, which is beneficial in its ability to boost heart health.  Resveratrol is a compound that some plants create to protect themselves against bacteria and fungi as well as ultraviolet irradiation.

“Resveratrol might help prevent damage to blood vessels, reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and prevent blood clots,” Mayo Clinic states and all of these effects can lower your risk of heart disease.

Don’t forget to drink your red wine with dinner…

In fact, Alberto Bertelli, a researcher at the University of Milan’s department of Biomedical Sciences for Health,  theorised that we need the alcohol component of wine to absorb resveratrol. Bertelli says that the ideal amount to drink is 160ml of wine a day (the size of a champagne flute), but only with a meal (Mediterranean style).

“Before we absorb the compounds in wine, they must be dissolved. They help others absorb, they all work together, and this is unique to wine,” he says.

Another factor that makes wine a healthier drink to order are its  antioxidants called polyphenols. Polyphenols are also in fruits and vegetables and, like resveratrol, reduce inflammation in the body. Polyphenols are especially found in red wine; there are ten times as many polyphenols in red wine, this BBC article states.

Sorry, white wine lovers, most researchers believe that red wine is the healthiest drink out there.

Conclusion? It’s wine time

Red wine is, at the very least, the best drink you can order if you’re watching your health.

So, go ahead and indulge in that weekend getaway to Waiheke Island, the Island of Wine awash with all of your favourite reds––it’s doctor’s orders.