Have you ever heard that drinking a glass of wine is as healthy as spending an hour in the gym?
That can’t be true … can it?
Since I love both wine and fitness, and since National Drink Wine Day (February 18) is just around the corner, I decided to investigate this seemingly outlandish claim. Here are nine ways wine can benefit your health.
No. 1: Wine is Good for Your Heart
You can love wine with your whole heart now. In fact, your heart loves wine just as much as you love its taste.
Over the past few years, several studies said red wine has heart-healthy benefits. Researchers suspect that it’s the antioxidants, such as flavonoids or a substance called resveratrol, that can strengthen your heart.
Here’s a little science for you: Resveratrol is a component of wine that has been associated with lowering levels of bad cholesterol and protecting the lining of blood heart vessels.
What all researchers seem to agree on is that only moderate wine consumption helps reduce your risk of heart disease — drinking a bottle (or two, or more…) regularly doesn’t have similar heart-healthy effects. So, if you’re a wine lover and want to drink it every single day while staying healthy, drink no more than a single glass. Moderation is the key.
No. 2: Wine Helps Maintain Muscle
Speaking of resveratrol, drinking wine — thanks to its high content of resveratrol — may actually be great news for your muscles. That may sound hard to believe, but when you take time off from the gym, drinking a little wine really does help prevent muscle atrophy (i.e. shrinking muscles).
Well, French researchers think it shouldn’t shock you that much, because their studies showed this to be true. They believe this positive side effect of drinking wine could be especially beneficial for astronauts, as they experience significant muscle deterioration due to zero-gravity-induced inactivity.
Whether you’re an astronaut or a regular gym-goer, moderate consumption of wine is equally beneficial for your muscles.
No. 3: Wine Burns Fat
A 2015 study conducted at Oregon State University found that a chemical found in red wine may slow the growth of fat cells. In addition, the same researchers found that wine actually improves (wait until you hear this!) liver function in overweight people!
Yeah, alcohol improves liver function — impressive, isn’t it?
However, keep in mind that moderate consumption is the key (again), because gulping down an entire bottle of wine is actually counterproductive for both your liver function and weight-loss results.
No. 4: Wine Reduces Stress
I’m sure you’ve been using this as an excuse to drink wine for years, but now it has scientific evidence. According to researchers, wine, especially red wine, has a calming effect on your brain.
Wine has super-power abilities to calm our nerves because it is a central nervous system depressant. Like all other types of alcohol, wine also has a sedating effect on the body, which means it relaxes you and can help you fall asleep.
No. 5: Wine Helps Prevents Breast Cancer
This one might come as a surprise for you, as you may have heard that all types of alcohol increase estrogen levels, which in turn increase your cancer risk. But, a new study found that red wine (not white), when consumed in moderation, can help lower breast cancer risk in women because the resveratrol actually kills DNA-damaged cells that could otherwise become a cancer risk.
No. 6: Wine Acts as Sunscreen
Wait until you read this one thoroughly — no need to smear your face with wine just yet.
A few years back, we told you that wine might act as an effective liquid sunscreen. According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the flavonoids found in wine grapes can help protect your skin from UV rays from the sun.
The researchers of the study also found that red wine helps prevent sunburn and even skin cancer. I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but it’s worth noting that these skin benefits come only with moderate consumption of red wine.
No. 7: Wine Prevents Memory Loss
I distinctly remember seeing a public service announcement as a teenager that said alcohol destroys brain cells. I interpreted that to mean that one drink would drop my IQ by 50 points and instantly give me memory loss. (I was a little naïve as a teen!)
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. According to a study by Journal of Neuroscience, moderate consumption of wine, thanks to its high content of resveratrol, actually has a positive effect on short-term memory performance. The study involved overweight adults who took resveratrol supplements for six months and overweight adults who took a placebo. The former group had a better short-term memory performance than the latter.
Is there anything that resveratrol won’t help with?
No. 8: Wine Helps Fight Cavities
It might sound shocking, especially given the high content of sugar in grapes, but both wine and grape seed extract are actually good news for your oral health.
A study by the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that wine and grape seed extract has a positive effect on the strength of your teeth, and helps get rid of plaque-causing bacteria.
No. 9: Wine Makes You More Attractive
No, I’m not talking about putting your “beer goggles” on. Wine can actually improve your appearance. Maybe you’ve experience this one first-hand.
The low doses of alcohol, exactly like those found in a single glass of wine, can give you a healthy glow and subtle smile that make you more attractive in the eyes of other people. So, if you’re feeling nervous on a first date, drink a glass of wine to boost your confidence and your appearance!
Let’s hear it for wine! In moderation, of course. What’s your favorite varietal? — Dave