¨A bottle of red, a bottle of white. It all depends upon your appetite. I’ll meet you any time you want in our Italian Restaurant.¨
Billy Joel was smart to insist on wine and a Mediterranean meal as he crooned this song to his companion. These two factors, a healthy diet filled with good fats, and a portion of wine, are both known to have many health benefits, as long as you choose the red wine, of course, and you don’t drink the whole bottle. Red wine has long been rumored to have health benefits, but many people do not understand why it is beneficial to their wellbeing.
Why is wine so good for your health and longevity? The reason is quite simply polyphenols. Polyphenols are micronutrients found in the skin of red grapes and other plant-based materials. In particular, resveratrol is an anti-inflammatory purported to have a positive effect on many symptoms of your body. Although you could get these same positive effects from other resveratrol-laden foods like red grapes, blueberries, and chocolate, acquiring the healthful benefits of resveratrol with a nice glass of wine is more relaxing and more fun. So what does red wine do for us exactly? There are several important benefits.
Keep your ticker strong
The heart of the matter is that red wine can help your heart keep beating efficiently. Much of the benefit comes from the positive affect red wine has on blood vessels. Procyanidins are a flavonoid found in red wine, and they go a long way in promoting health, especially for your blood vessels. If you think about the heart’s job of pumping blood throughout your entire body and the highway of blood vessels your body contains, any help to this blood-pumping system is positive. Specifically, the wine helps to protect arteries from LDL, the bad cholesterol. It also increases HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol. On a more fundamental level, it improves cell function in blood vessels. Red wine has also been known to prevent blood clotting because it keeps the vessels functioning like a superhighway.
Banish brain problems
The resveratrol in red wine also offers a variety of balms for your brain. First, the anti-inflammatory nature of the polyphenols offers protection from dementia and Alzheimer’s. When the blood vessels are less inflamed, the blood can flow more freely. Because of this simple fact, cognitive function can be improved. Furthermore, red wine can assist someone who has already suffered the hardening of the arteries or a stroke. It prevents further stroke damage because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Drinking red wine also lessens the risk of depression, and studies show that it also improves your mood. Be careful though. The serving size is one four-ounce glass a day for women and two for men. If you drink too much red wine, you are at risk for more depression and heart problems such as heart failure and high blood pressure.
Other helpful benefits
Besides taking care of your brain and heart, the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories in red wine offer a variety of perks to your body.
A little known benefit of red wine is that it helps your eyes. The anti-inflammatory nature of resveratrol works to mitigate the effects of cataracts, glaucoma, and vascular degeneration. It also reduces the oxidative stress, which in turn helps with these visual conditions.
Amazingly, drinking red wine has been known to lessen the chance of some cancers, especially prostate, breast, and lung cancers. Every case is different, but this is some promising news.
Some research indicates that ethanol in red wine can help with type 2 diabetes because it can metabolize glucose.
There is also some evidence that red wine promotes gut health because it helps produce healthy bacteria.
Finally, there is evidence that resveratrol activates a protein in your body to promote longevity. With cleaner blood vessels and a healthier heart, this makes sense. Along with the length of your life, kicking back with a good friend and a good glass of red is undoubtedly a relaxing, life-giving way to spend time. If wine is going to add days to your life, it will also add life to your days!