Do you need a reasonable excuse to drink one or two glasses of red wine every night? How bout five (reasons, not glasses)?
In addition to catching a nice buzz and making you witty, drinking red wine every night brings some very legit health benefits. Plenty of studies explore the health benefits of moderate red wine consumption, and the wise folks at Oregon State’s College of Agricultural Studies observed some of the most promising ones in the The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
For those of you who don’t enjoy reading biochemistry journals, we broke down some of their findings in a language you can understand.
- Protection Against Alzheimer’s: The antioxidant resveratrol shows a strong ability to protect against cell damage and curb the effects of age-related mental decline.
- The New Workout Plan: While the act of raising a glass to your lips may burn a calorie or two, the real benefit comes from resveratrol yet again, which was shown to improve physical performance and muscle strength. It also shows similar cardiovascular enhancements as exercise. It should be noted that the benefits are limited, so don’t cancel your gym membership just yet.
- Cancer Fighting: Researchers aren’t exactly sure how, but another active antioxidant in red wine known as quercetin works against cancer cells, according to the American Cancer Society. It helps to induce natural cell death in certain types of cancers, most often colon cancer.
- The Fountain of Youth: Compared to beer and vodka drinkers, people who consume red wine have a 34 percent lower mortality rate. In this study resveratrol was credited as the compound that could be responsible for its longevity benefits. While researchers believe any diet rich in polyphenols has the ability to fight against chronic disease, red wine contains a higher concentration than most foods.
- A Happier Heart: A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, shared findings on a group of 224 volunteers who were told to drink either 5oz of mineral water, dry white wine, or dry red wine for two years with dinner. Upon concluding the study, Time reports that “the red wine drinkers had significantly increased their levels of good HDL cholesterol and had a more beneficial cholesterol ratio compared to the group that drank water.”
- Better sex life. Red wine increases blood flow to certain, erhm, areas of the body. An Italian study showed that women who drank more than two glasses each day had a higher sex drive than abstainers, while a 2012 study showed that men who drank red wine had higher levels of testosterone, which is linked to having a high sex drive.
- Helps with depression. A study of 5,505 participants showed that moderate alcohol intake was strongly associated with a lower risk of depression. Those who drank between two and seven glasses per week had the best results.
Good things in moderation
While lower cholesterol, better sex, and decreased risk of type-II diabetes all sound great, don’t assume that you can multiply that one glass by five and completely reverse the aging process, toss your Viagra and Lipitor in the trash, and go run the Boston marathon with zero training. Most of these studies conclude that heavy alcohol consumption has its own dangers, so it’s wise to keep things in moderation.