There has been a lot of debate over the health benefits of red wine for quite some time. While many people believe that drinking a glass of red wine every day is a healthy option, there are others who think that everything about the drink is somewhat exaggerated. There is absolutely no doubt that the excess consumption of wine or any alcoholic beverage for that matter can adversely affect your health and social relationships. But according to some studies, moderate consumption of wine may have significant health benefits. Red wine is an excellent source of antioxidant polyphenols that help protect the cells and tissues in your body against damage that can cause diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
How is Red Wine Made?
Red wine is a type of wine made from dark red or black grapes. In this case, the whole grape, including the skin is used. It is the anthocyanin pigments present in the grape skin that gives the rich dark red color and characteristic flavor to the wine. The following processes are involved in the making of red wine:
- Grow grapes and harvest them.
- The grapes are crushed and then placed in an environment that is favorable for yeast to thrive.
- The yeast culture grows and ferments all the available sugar into alcohol.
- The final steps involve the fining, filtering and the bottling of the red wine.
A Few Reasons to Love Red Wine
There are several types of red wine that vary in taste and color. The alcohol content in red wine usually ranges from 12–15%. Some of the common varieties include Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot noir, Shiraz and Zinfandel. Drinking moderate amounts of red wine is found to be beneficial for your health because of the presence of high levels of powerful antioxidants in it. In addition to the antioxidants, the alcohol in the wine is also believed to contribute to some of the health benefits. Check out a few good reasons why drinking red wine is a healthy option:
Red Wine Lowers Your Cholesterol
The red grapes used to make red wine have high fiber content that helps lowers the blood cholesterol levels. Excess LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol gets deposited in arterial walls and forms plaque, which causes the hardening of arteries and increase in blood pressure, ultimately leading to heart attacks. Studies reveal that the consumption of red wine on a daily basis leads to a decrease in the LDL levels. Red wine contains an antioxidant known as resveratrol, which has been known to play an important role in decreasing bad cholesterol. Studies also indicate that the regular consumption of small amounts of alcohol in the long term is associated with increase in levels of HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol.
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Red Wine is a Rich Source of Powerful Antioxidants
The grapes used to prepare red wine are rich in several antioxidants, including catechin, epicatechin, resveratrol and proanthocyanidins. In fact, these antioxidants, especially resveratrol and proanthocyanidins, are considered to be responsible for the health benefits of the wine. They help reduce the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals in the body, there by protecting the body against serious diseases like heart disease and cancer. Resveratrol, found in grape skin has been associated with many health benefits, including fighting inflammation, increasing life span and reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Red Wine Helps You Stay Young
Who doesn’t want to stay young! People are looking for ways to keep their youth and extend their longevity. Well, here’s an easy one – drink a glass of red wine daily. According to studies conducted by the researchers of Harvard Medical School, the resveratrol in red wine is linked to improved health and a longer life span. This compound found in the skin of grapes increases the activity of a specific gene known as SIRT1, that protects the body from diseases and slows down aging by improving the activities of the mitochondria. When consumed regularly in moderate amounts, red wine is believed to increase the life span to a certain extent.
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Red Wine Keeps Your Skin Healthy and Beautiful
One of the most sought after benefits of red wine is its ability to give the skin a healthy glow. Again, these benefits can be attributed to the presence of high levels of antioxidants in the wine. These antioxidants protect the skin from the harmful effects of the free radicals and slows down the aging process by restoring collagen and elastic fibers. Red wine is also good for sagging skin, and for reducing aging signs like wrinkles and fine lines. If you want to rejuvenate your skin and get the glow you have always desired, then why not try a wine facial! To make the facial, mix together honey, yogurt and red wine. Apply it to the face, leave it on for about 20 minutes and then wash it off with cold water.
The anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties of the red wine helps in clearing the pores, fighting acne and in preventing future acne breakouts. All you have to do is soak a cotton ball in red wine, apply it on the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes and wash off. The acne will be removed and you can say hello to clear and beautiful skin.
Red Wine for Strong and Healthy Hair
Rinsing your hair with red wine after shampooing and conditioning is a great way to get thick and lustrous tresses. It increases blood circulation in the scalp, enriches your hair and promotes hair growth. The powerful polyphenols in the wine neutralizes the oxidative damage to your follicles and strengthens your hair. It detoxifies and repairs damaged hair, leaving you with soft and shiny locks. Washing your scalp with red wine is beneficial in getting rid of dandruff and in preventing hair loss.
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Red Wine Protects the Heart
Having red wine in moderation is thought to be healthy for your heart. In addition to lowering the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood, the antioxidants in the wine is also helpful in preventing unwanted clotting. Red wine also prevents atherosclerosis by inhibiting the synthesis of endothelin-1, a protein responsible for the accumulation of fats along the walls of blood vessels. Drinking red wine in moderation thus helps protect your heart by lowering the risks of heart diseases.
Red Wine Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels
According to scientists, a glass of red wine every day could help control diabetes because it contains high concentrations of chemicals that help the body regulate the blood sugar levels and prevent potentially dangerous spikes or dips in these levels. Some experts believe that the resveratrol in red wine helps stimulate the secretion of insulin or activate a protein, which is responsible for regulating glucose and insulin sensitivity. A glass of red wine a day is found to help manage cholesterol and improve the health of the cardiovascular system for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Red Wine Improves the Functioning of Your Brain
Scientists believe that the resveratrol in the red wine may improve the functioning of the brain by increasing the blood circulation to the brain. Unlike other alcohol beverages such as beer or liquor, drinking up to three servings of wine every day, is associated with a lower risk of dementia. This may be because the polyphenols in red wine have the ability to protect brain cells against alcohol induced damage. Resveratrol has significant antioxidant properties and offers neuroprotective effects. Studies indicate that resveratrol improves concentration and short term recall. The compound has been shown to prevent the formation of the protein beta-amyloid, which is a main ingredient in the plaque found in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
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Red Wine Helps You Fight Off a Cold
The abundance of antioxidant polyphenols in red wine makes it beneficial in treating, as well as reducing the risks of common cold. According to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, those who consumed more than 14 glasses of wine per week for a year were 40% less likely to suffer from a common cold. The antioxidants in the drink are believed to fight off infection and protect cells against the oxidative damage caused by free radicals, which may lead to cancer and other diseases. Resveratrol in red wine has anti-inflammatory properties and help in lowering the inflammation in the nose and air passage which normally occurs when your immune system is trying to fight off the infection caused by cold viruses. This helps you breathe easily when you are suffering from a cold.
Drink Red Wine to Prevent Cancer
Researchers found that the compound resveratrol has the ability to destroy the damaged cells that can lead to certain types of cancers. This compound has been found to reduce the risks of cancers such as breast, bowel, lung, prostate and colon cancers. Resveratrol can help to starve cancer cells by blocking a cancer feeding protein known as NF-kB.
After a day of hard work, winding down with a glass of red wine is a great way to de-stress. Not only does it help you relax, but the wine also comes with loads of health benefits, a few of which are mentioned above. Drinking moderate amounts of red wine daily can truly work wonders for your body. So the next time you want to chill, be sure to choose red wine so that you can enjoy its health benefits as well.Image Credits: Quinn Dombrowski