WINE sometimes gets a bad rap.
Sure, over consumption can be hazardous, and you may have made some terrible life choices thanks to wine. But drink wine in moderation, and it will improve your life - and your health - in a wide range of ways.
1. REDUCE YOUR RISK OF DEMENTIA
Moderate drinkers are 23% less likely to develop dementia, according to researchers at Loyola University Medical Center (USA). Professor Edward J Neafsey said, 'We don't recommend that non-drinkers start drinking. But moderate drinking, if it is truly moderate, can be beneficial.'
2. PREVENT LIVER DISEASE
Drinking wine can reduce your risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by half, flying in the face of conventional thinking around alcohol and liver disease. It has to be wine though. A study by UC San Diego School of Medicine found that beer and hard liquor drinkers had more than four times the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease than the wine drinkers. (Moderation is key here, though. Too much of any alcohol can cause alcoholic fatty liver disease.)
3. PROTECT AGAINST PROSTATE CANCER
Men who drink 4-7 glasses of red wine a week are only about half as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer as those who don't drink red wine, according to Harvard Men's Health Watch. Why red wine? They're not really sure, but doctors think it has something to do with the chemicals particular to red wine, like flavonoids and resveratrol. You can be sure they're taking one for the team and carrying our further research.
4. RAISE OMEGA-3 FATTY ACID LEVELS
Sure, you could eat oily fish, but wine is better than all other alcoholic drinks in raising your omega-3 levels in plasma and red blood cells, according to a European study. The study found regular, moderate wine drinkers had higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood, which the scientists found was triggered by the wine. And higher levels of omega-3s in your blood can protect you against coronary heart disease.
5. PROTECT FROM SUNBURN
Scientists from the University of Barcelona have found drinking wine can help to lessen the effects of UV (ultraviolet) rays and protect you from severe sunburn. That's because when UV rays hit human skin, they activate reactive oxygen species (ROS), which oxidise fats, DNA and other large molecules, which then stimulate other enzymes that can harm skin cells.
Sounds complicated, but in a nutshell, the flavonoids found in wine inhibit the ROS in skin cells that are exposed to UVA and UVB rays. That's not to say that drinking wine in the sun is a great healthcare plan. Slip, slop, slap is still the official recommended approach.
Make sure you pack the red wine as well as the sunscreen next time you're out in the sun.
6. PREVENT BREAST CANCER
Most alcoholic drinks can increase your risk of breast cancer, but researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (USA) found red wine can have the opposite effect. Chemicals found in the seeds of red grapes reduce oestrogen levels in pre-menopausal women, while increasing their testosterone levels - the perfect cocktail for a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
Participants in the study drank about 240ml of red wine each night for a month. Authors of the study reported that eating red grapes would have the same effect, but we'll let you choose which you prefer.
7. PREVENT TYPE 2 DIABETES
Insulin resistance is a critical factor that contributes to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The Chinese Academy of Sciences found in an experiment with mice that the chemical resveratrol can improve sensitivity to insulin. And you'll be pleased to know you can find resveratrol in the skin of red grapes, and in red wine. The link is yet to be proven in humans but we're sure they're working on it.
8. PREVENT BLINDNESS
Overgrown blood vessels in the eye can cause diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, but the good news is that red wine can stop that blood vessel growth in its tracks, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine. The resveratrol found in red wine is the compound responsible for arresting the blood vessel growth (it's also in grapes, blueberries, peanuts, and some other plants, but that's not important right now).
Yes, a good wine improves with age. As do the people that drink it (in moderation of course).
9. SLOW THE AGEING PROCESS
Although monks have believed for over a thousand years in wine's anti-ageing properties, the theory is now backed by science. Harvard Medical School researchers have found that red wine's magical compound resveratrol and the SIRT1 gene, also found in red wine, are definitely linked to increased health and a longer life span.
10. PREVENT BOWEL CANCER
Scientists from the University of Leicester (UK) have reported that the resveratrol in red wine can also have a marked effect on cancer risk. They found drinking two glasses of red wine a day can reduce the rate of bowel tumours by around 50%.
11. REDUCE THE RISK OF DEPRESSION
Moderation is the name of the game here, of course, but a Spanish study found that drinking wine can reduce the risk of developing depression. The researchers found that men and women who drank two to seven glasses of wine each week were less likely to be diagnosed with depression than those that abstained. Those that drank more than seven glasses per week were found to be at greater risk of developing depression, so keep an eye on your intake.
12. PROTECT AGAINST LUNG CANCER AND IMPROVE LUNG FUNCTION
Red wine consumption may reduce your risk of lung cancer according to Chun Chao, Ph.D., who said, 'An antioxidant component in red wine may be protective of lung cancer, particularly among smokers.' (Giving up smoking is always a better option.) Drinking a beer or more each day, however, can increase your chances of getting lung cancer. If you're not a red wine drinker, don't despair. Researchers in the Netherlands have found white wine may improve lung function.
13. PROTECT AGAINST STROKE DAMAGE
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine believe the resveratrol in red wine raises levels of an enzyme called heme oxygenase, which is known to protect nerve cells in the brain from damage after a stroke. Professor Sylvain Doré said nobody yet knows whether resveratrol on its own can have this effect, or whether it needs to be accompanied by the alcohol in the wine to be effective.
But people, please drink responsibly and in moderation!
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