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New research suggests a glass of red wine may be as effective as 1 hour of exercise

The health benefits of red wine have been debated for quite some time. 

Studies have shown that moderate red wine consumption lowers the risk of several diseases, including heart disease. However, there is a fine line between moderate and excessive intake. This article takes a detailed look into red wine and its health effects.

The French Paradox

Red wine is made of fermenting dark-colored, whole grapes. It is high in antioxidants, and drinking moderate amounts has been shown to be good for health. It is often believed to be responsible for the “French paradox.”

This phrase refers to the observation that the French have very low rates of heart disease, while consuming a lot of saturated fat and cholesterol. Some experts believed that red wine was the dietary agent in protecting the French population from the harmful effects of these nutrients.

However, new studies have shown that dietary cholesterol and saturated fat do not cause heart disease when consumed in reasonable amounts. The true reason behind the good health of the French is probably the fact that they eat whole foods and live overall healthier lifestyles.

Bottom Line:

Some believe red wine is responsible for the good health of the French population, that it is the main explanation for the French paradox. Red Wine Contains Powerful Plant Compounds and Antioxidants, Including Resveratrol.

Grapes are highly rich in various antioxidants such as: resveratrol, catechin, epicatechin and proanthocyanidins. These antioxidants, especially resveratrol and proanthocyanidins, are responsible for the health benefits of red wine. Proanthocyanidins may reduce oxidative damage in the body. They may help in preventing heart disease and cancer altogether.

Resveratrol is found in the skin of grapes. It is produced in some plants, as a response to damage or injury. This antioxidant is linked to many health benefits, including fighting inflammation and blood clotting, as well as reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer. Resveratrol can also make test animals live longer.

Resveratrol = Exercise?

In 2012, a study was conducted on rats suggesting that resveratrol can provide the same benefits for heart function and muscle strength as exercise. Researchers say, “some of the benefits of regular exercise can also be mimicked by the naturally occurring polyphenol, resveratrol.”

However, the resveratrol content of red wine is rather low. You would have to consume several bottles in a day to reach the amount used in animal studies. This is not recommended, for obvious reasons. If you’re drinking wine just for the resveratrol content, then getting it from a supplement may be a better idea.

Bottom Line:

The powerful plant compounds in red wine have been linked with many health benefits, including reduced inflammation, lower risk of heart disease and cancer, and extended lifespan.

Red Wine May Lower the Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke and Early Death

Small amounts of red wine are linked to more health benefits than any other alcoholic beverage. There seems to be a J-shaped curve that explains the relationship between wine intake and the risk of heart disease.

People that consume 150 ml (5 oz) of red wine a day are at a 32% lower risk than non-drinkers. However, higher intake increases the risk of heart disease dramatically. Drinking small amounts of red wine may reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to retain the “good” HDL cholesterol in the blood. Oxidative damage and the oxidation of the “bad” LDL cholesterol may also be reduced by up to 50%.

Some studies show that populations at a high risk of heart disease, like the elderly, may benefit more from moderate wine consumption (22).

Furthermore, drinking 1–3 glasses of red wine per day, 3–4 days of the week, may reduce the risk of stroke in middle-aged men. One study showed that consuming 2–3 glasses of dealcoholized red wine per day may lower blood pressure. Many studies show that moderate wine drinkers are at a lower risk of death from heart disease, compared to non-drinkers or beer and spirit drinkers.

Bottom Line:

Drinking 1–2 glasses of red wine each day may lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. However, high amounts may increase the risk.

Other Health Benefits of Drinking Red Wine

Red wine has been linked with several other health benefits, many of which are attributed to its potent antioxidants.

Red wine consumption is linked to:

Reduced Risk of Cancer:

Studies have shown that moderate wine consumption is linked with a decreased risk of several cancers, including colon, basal cell, ovary and prostate cancers.

Reduced Risk of Dementia:

Drinking 1–3 glasses of wine per day has been linked to a reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Reduced Risk of Depression:

A study of middle-aged and elderly people showed that those who drank 2–7 glasses of wine per week were less likely to become depressed (37, 38).

Reduced Insulin Resistance:

Drinking 2 glasses a day of regular or de-alcoholized red wine for 4 weeks may reduce insulin resistance.

Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women:

Moderate red wine consumption has been linked with a reduced risk for developing type 2 diabetes in women.

It seems that moderate amounts of red wine can be healthy for you. However, there are also some important negative aspects to consider.

Bottom Line:

Moderate red wine consumption may reduce the risk of several cancers, dementia, and depression. It may also increase insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in women.

Negative Health Effects of Drinking Too Much Alcohol

While a moderate amount of red wine may provide health benefits, consuming too much alcohol can cause devastating health effects.
These include:

Alcohol Dependence:

Drinking alcohol regularly may become out of control and lead to alcoholism.

Liver Cirrhosis:

When more than 30 grams of alcohol (about 2–3 glasses of wine) are consumed each day, the risk of developing liver disease increases. End-stage liver disease, called cirrhosis, is life-threatening.

Increased Risk of Depression:

Heavy drinkers are at a much higher risk of depression than moderate or non-drinkers.

Weight Gain:

Red wine contains twice the amount of calories as beer and sugary soft drinks. Excessive consumption may, therefore, contribute to high-calorie intake and make you gain weight.

Increased Risk of Death and Disease:

Drinking a lot of wine, even only 1–3 days a week, may increase the risk of diabetes in men. High alcohol intake has also been linked with an increased risk of premature death.

Bottom Line:

An excessive intake of alcoholic beverages will cause alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis, and weight gain. It also increases the risk of depression, disease, and premature death.

Should You Drink Red Wine? If Yes, How Much?

If you like drinking red wine, there is no need to worry unless if you are exceeding the recommended amount.
In Europe and America, moderate red wine consumption is considered to be:

• 1–1.5 glasses a day for women.
• 1–2 glasses a day for men.

Some sources recommend that you take 1-2 alcohol-free days each week. Keep in mind that this refers to total alcohol intake. Drinking this amount of red wine in addition to other alcoholic beverages could easily put you in the range of excessive consumption. If you have a history of substance abuse, then you should avoid wine and any other alcoholic beverage altogether. Also be very careful if you have a family history of alcoholism.

Bottom Line:

Moderate intake of red wine is defined as 1-2 glasses per day. It is also recommended that you have at least 1–2 days a week without alcohol.

Take Home Message

There are many other effective ways to improve your health that doesn’t require you to consume something that can be harmful.

However, if you are already drinking red wine, then there’s no need to stop (unless you’re drinking too much). As long as you aren’t consuming more than 1-2 glasses per day, then it should be doing you some good.

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New research suggests a glass of red wine may be as effective as 1 hour of exercise New research suggests a glass of red wine may be as effective as 1 hour of exercise Reviewed by Jamm Real on 22:04:00 Rating: 5