Red Wine Benefits

Plato may have been wiser than he knew when he said, “Nothing more excellent or valuable than wine was ever granted by the Gods to man.” Those of us who have come to enjoy the variety and tastes that wine have to offer can now look to red wines for greater health benefits. Recent studies show that drinking one glass of red wine each day may have certain health benefits. Research indicates that moderate red wine consumption may help protect against certain cancers and heart disease, and can have a positive effect on cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

The French Paradox

The French seem to know something about the health benefits of red wine. In a study that compared French and German red wines, the French red wines delivered a greater health benefit due to their higher level of antioxidants. This may partially account for the “French paradox,” where studies show that in areas of France where the diet is high in fat those who drink red wine with meals have a lower incidence of heart attack than other parts of the world.

Due to vast differences in diets, the evidence is inconclusive, but experts believe that red wine contains certain compounds that help protect the heart. This has opened the door for other researchers to study the components in red wine that may be responsible for its health benefits.

Moderation is Key

The key to reaping the health benefits of red wine seems to be moderate consumption. Drinking one glass a day for women and up to two glasses a day for men may decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke. Excessive or binge drinking, however, doesn’t produce the same benefits. In other words, when it comes to red wine: more is not better.

What is Moderation?

In the U.S., drinking in moderation means one glass for women, and one to two glasses for men.

The definition of moderation is different in the United Kingdom and European Union, however. The “sensible limits” in the UK and EU are two to three glasses of red wine per day for women and three to four glasses for men.

Healing Powers of Antioxidants

The compounds found in red wine that are responsible for its healing powers are antioxidants. Red wines contain several antioxidants beneficial to good health. Different antioxidants have different functions, but the key feature of all these antioxidants appears to be one of protection and prevention of disease.

Resources

ScienceDaily. (2000, October 16.) Grapes or grain? Wine drinking may reduce colon cancer risk; beer, hard liquor provide no benefit. Retrieved September 20, 2003, from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/10/001018221332.htm.

ScienceDaily. (2003, September 9.) New cholesterol fighter found in red wine. Retrieved September 20, 2003, from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030909070840.htm.

Wallerath, T., Poleo, D., Li, H., Furstermann, U. (2003, February 5). Red wine increases the expression of human endothelial nitric oxide synthesis [electronic version]. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 41(3), 471-478. Retrieved September 20, 2003, from www.acc.org/media/releases/highlights/2003/feb03/wine.pdf.