Red Wine To Your Health. Red wine, in moderation, has been found to contain powerful substances that benefit the heart, the nervous system, and even your teeth, and it may even offer some cancer protection.
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We’re told that, in general, alcohol is not good for us. But then we learn about the amazing health benefits that can come from having a glass or two of red wine every day. What’s the real story here?
Well, red wine is good for a man’s health in a number of ways, according to many studies. But the alcohol in red wine has little to do with it. Red wine happens to contain powerful antioxidants, substances that protect your cells against damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals.
The health benefits from wine are the same for men and women, but men can drink more given their generally larger body mass — one or two 4-ounce glasses of wine per day — while women should consume only one glass. You still need to practice moderation when you drink, as having more than this amount has been tied to heart disease, liver damage, and other health problems.
Red Wine: Rich in Antioxidants
In general, antioxidants keep free radicals from attacking the body’s cells and contributing to destructive processes inside the body. Think of the antioxidant process in terms of what happens when you slice into an apple. Once you cut an apple slice, it begins to brown from damage caused by free radicals, a process called oxidation. But if you dip the slice in lemon juice, which contains the antioxidant vitamin C, the apple flesh will stay white.
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Flavonoids and resveratrol are the main types of antioxidants found in red wine:
Flavonoids are antioxidant compounds found in plants. In red wine, the main type of flavonoid is anthocyanin, a substance found in the skin of the grape that produces the deep purple-red color of the wine.
Resveratrol is a compound produced by plants to help them ward off fungal infections and other disease. It belongs to the class of antioxidants known as polyphenols.
Your choice of red wine can make a difference. Cabernet Sauvignon contains the most antioxidants, followed closely by Petite Sirah and Pinot Noir. Merlots and red zinfandels have some antioxidants, but fewer than the other wines.
Red Wine: Rich in Health Benefits
Doctors have linked a number of significant health benefits to drinking red wine:
Reduction in heart disease. Flavonoids in red wine are believed to decrease the amount of “bad” cholesterol in your bloodstream and increase “good” cholesterol. Flavonoids and resveratrol also seem to prevent platelets from sticking together, which can prevent heart attack or stroke by decreasing the risk of clot formation.
Protection against cancer. Resveratrol has been shown to reduce tumor incidence and inhibit growth of cancer cells in the laboratory. Studies have begun to directly link red wine consumption to reduction of cancer risk in humans. For example, research has shown that a glass of red wine a day can cut a man’s risk of prostate cancer in half, particularly when it comes to the most aggressive types of prostate cancer. More than that, however, could have the opposite effect and actually increase your risk for certain cancers, so don’t use this as an excuse to down half a bottle of your favorite pinot.
Protection against neurological disorders. Researchers have found that resveratrol can help block the formation of amyloid plaques which are thought to damage brain cells and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. Another study found that resveratrol actually aided in the formation of new nerve cells, which could help prevent neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Other health benefits. Doctors continue to find new ways in which the antioxidant effects of red wine benefit the body. For example, researchers have found that red wine cuts down on the inflammation and tissue damage caused by periodontal, or gum, disease. So drinking red wine actually can help your dental health, they say.
Don’t overdo it, but do enjoy a glass of red wine or two, as an effortless way to get health benefits.