Is red wine actually good for you?
It has often been claimed, but it turns out that the answer is a resounding… sort of. Wine’s health benefits aren’t just a conspiracy to excuse more drinking, but you also shouldn’t start substituting all the vegetables in your diet with Chianti.
Let’s be clear; we don’t want to indulge in any pseudoscience here, and far be it from us to take the internet’s word for anything. But there are enough reputable sources claiming possible health benefits that they should be at least, well, possible.
The contradictory reports can be pretty confusing, though. Here is a very brief introduction to what seem the most reliable health benefits of wine. If nothing else, it’s a convenient way to excuse that Tuesday night glass.
The skin of red grapes is high in what are known as polyphenols, antioxidants that are thought to be an effective anti-ageing remedy, which is pretty awesome to hear. This is also true in more ways than one; the antioxidants in red grapes can keep your skin healthy and keep you looking fresh, but studies at Colombia University have also shown that moderate drinkers, (moderate), also seemed to experience slower brain decline. Moderate, by the way, is what the British Heart Foundation calls not much more than a glass.
And you thought all that drinking was making you look so haggard! Turns out it must have been all that other stuff.
Those same antioxidants, particularly one known as ‘resveratrol’, also do a lot of good to your body’s defense systems. Some scientists even believe that they’ve shown a link between resveratrol and prevention of certain types of cancer. Take this with a pinch of salt, but antioxidants are pretty universally considered good things and are thought to help prevent serious diseases, so their presence in wine is an overall positive.
By the way, Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel have been suggested as the grape varieties that contain the most of these lovely antioxidants. If those are among your favorites, well… lucky you.
Maintaining a healthy heart
This is the big one that has been showing up in journals and studies for around 20 years now. Without getting too deep into the actual, you know, science, a number of researchers have suggested that compounds in wine really can limit some of the processes that can lead to heart failure. That’s moderate drinking again, by the way. Though it still isn’t enough to have more cautious health experts recommending a glass a day, it seems the strongest evidence that drinking wine can really have health benefits, and that goes for both heart attacks and heart disease.
It should be noted that these benefits tend to apply to older people that are already at a greater risk of heart disease then young people. Sorry twenty-somethings, but those two bottles you drank at that house party this weekend? Not so healthy.
So there you go! It might not be a magical elixir of youth, (or, perhaps we should say, not that magical), but it does seem that red wine does have a couple things going for it healthwise.
Disclaimer alert: remember that we are wine lovers here, not doctors, and that anything as important as your health should involve your own research too. Each of these benefits assumes around a glass of wine a day, no more than two. Personally, we don’t mind indulging, always in a responsible way 🙂
It’s nice to think that some of those glasses could be doing you some good, no?