5 Health Benefits of Red Wine

I would never have believed it!

I do like the occasional glass of wine, and if you do too, then read on, because I have been researching into whether red wine is really good for you, and what I found was very interesting.

Red wine contains a chemical known as Resveratrol, which is found in the red/purple skin of the grapes. Other red/purple skinned fruits such as Blueberries, Blackberries, Strawberries, Acai, Red Currents etc. have it too.

Of course, wine contains alcohol, and so please don’t use this blog as a reason to increase alcohol intake more than what is recommended.

For those of you with autoimmune conditions, be careful, many people react to the histamines in red wine especially those with autoimmune conditions. Fortunately for me, despite my own Hashimotos condition, I do not react, so I am enjoying a glass of wine now!

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  1. Anti-Aging

It is believed that Resveratrol has many benefits including anti-aging. Resveratrol is part of a group of compounds called polyphenols. They’re thought to act like antioxidants, protecting the body against damage that can put you at a higher risk for things like cancer and heart disease.

Like antioxidants, the Resveratrol neutralises the free radicals floating around the body, these free radicals are what damage our cells and contribute to our aging.

When cells get damaged, they don’t copy as well, so future cells are a little bit damaged. Think of it like a photocopier. When you copy from a copy, it’s never as good as the original. Keep copying the previous copy and the quality gets poorer and poorer.

Also, Resveratrol’s anti-inflammatory properties can help calm and heal the skin. It works by slowing down the chronic damage the skin suffers from toxins, sun exposure and other irritants.

Resveratrol is also known to stimulate Sirtuin, which is an enzyme known to promote DNA repair and cell regeneration.

2. Prevent Tooth Decay

There are two chemicals in red wine, proanthocyanidins, also known as condensed tannins and this is a very powerful antioxidant that remove harmful free oxygen radicals from cells. The second chemical is phytonutrients, which also have antioxidant properties.

Studies in Italy have shown that these two chemicals found in red wine prevented the bacteria, Streptococcus Mutans, from clinging to the saliva and the teeth.

Other research published in the journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry revealed grape seed extract also prevents cavities.

It’s good to know, that while I’m enjoying my wine, that my teeth are benefiting. Although I would still recommend that you clean your teeth before bed!

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3. Protect the Brain from Stroke

Research at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, gave 1 group of mice a single modest dose of Resveratrol before instigating a stroke. Two hours later, they found that the mice that had ingested the Resveratrol suffered significantly less brain damage than the one that had not been given the compound.

It is suggested that Resveratrol increases levels of an enzyme called Heme Oxygenase, which is already known to shield nerve cells in the brain from stroke damage.

Note to self: Must tell Mum this and send her a bottle of Australia’s finest for her birthday!

4. Protection Against Cardiovascular Risk

Did you know that the French, despite diets high in butter, cheese and other saturated fats, have a relatively low incidence of cardiovascular events, which some have attributed to the regular drinking of red wine?

Although the links between red wine and fewer heart attacks aren’t completely understood, it is believed that Resveratrol, which is a polyphenol, might be a key ingredient in red wine that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, known as the bad cholesterol, and prevents blood clots.

Research is conflicting, some studies show that Resveratrol could be linked to a lower risk of inflammation and blood clotting, which can lead to heart disease, and other studies found no benefits of Resveratrol in preventing heart disease.

5. May Reduce the Risk of Breast cancer

Research from Cedars-Sinai Medical centre shows that drinking red wine in moderation may reduce one of the risk factors for breast cancer.

The small study, published online in the Journal of Women’s Health, challenges the widely-held belief that all types of alcohol consumption heightens the risk of developing breast cancer. They believe, that this is due to the increase of estrogen levels which encourages the growth of cancer cells.

The study found that chemicals in the skins and seeds of grapes slightly lowered eostrogen levels while elervating testosterone among premenopausal women who drank 8 ounces of red wine nightly for a month.

Larger studies are required, but it’s promising.

But what about reducing your risk of dementia?

I noticed that there were claims of red wine reducing the risk of dementia. This is what I found.

Researchers at Loyola University Medical Centre in the USA reviewed 143 clinical studies and found that moderate drinkers are 23% less likely to develop dementia. The benefit was seen in both men and women.

They concluded that “overall, light to moderate drinking does not appear to impair cognition in younger subjects and actually seems to reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive decline in older subjects”.

However, a small study by the Georgetown University Medical Centre was published in the Journal Neurology. They enrolled 119 participant’s with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, to study the effects of high dose Resveratrol, which as we know is found in red wine.

Researchers found that a biomarker that declines when the disease progression was stabilised in people who were given the purified form of Resveratrol. However, the hospital cautions that the findings cannot be used to recommend Resveratrol and that further study is needed.

Interestingly, MRI scans of the participants brains taken before and after the study, did show that patients given Resveratrol lost more brain volume than the group who received the placebo.

So, with researchers warning that their findings cannot be used to recommend Resveratrol for dementia and taking into consideration that the dose required would mean that you would have to drink many bottles of wine a day to receive any potential benefit, I believe that at this stage, this study suggests that there is not a strong link to confirm that red wine (Resveratrol), benefits dementia.

Personally, I will continue to enjoy my moderate glass of wine with my evening meal, and if it happens to help protect me from certain diseases all the better, but I won’t be making it the be all and end all either.

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Essential Nutrition Tips

Note: “Essential Nutrition Tips” does not offer medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have medical concerns please consult your doctor. See Full Disclaimer.


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