Benefits of Red Wine:
Protection Against Cancer
Red wine contains plant polyphenols – metabolites of plants that help guard them against pathogens and the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. When people ingest plants (including wine as it is made of grapes) the polyphenols act as antioxidants and their long-term consumption protect against many diseases. Polyphenols are also anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and immune stimulating. Resveratrol is a naturally occurring polyphenol that is present in the skin and seeds of grapes and has been found to be photo protective. In other words, it protects you from sun-burn and the harmful effects of UV radiation. When resveratrol is applied to the skin topically, it reduces skin redness and swelling caused by UVB rays. Wine also contains a substance called apigenin, a plant flavonoid that has prevented UV-mediated skin cancer in tests, reducing the incidence of tumours and inhibiting their growth. So you may find that if you drink wine and eat plenty of fruits (such as apples, cherries and grapes), you have a natural shield against UV radiation without the vitamin D depleting side-effect of sun screens.
Protection for your Heart
Red wine may protect you against angina and life-threatening heart attack because the alcohol itself and the polyphenols aid the formation of nitric oxide, a chemical relaxant involved in the regulation of vascular tone. It protects against vascular injury and stops inflammatory cells attaching to vessel walls. It also limits the production of platelets, blood cells that cause blood clotting. Due to these mechanisms, red wine can limit plaque formation in the arteries, prevent hardening of the arteries and prevent blood clots that could potentially cause a heart attack. While it’s true to say that too much alcohol can cause addiction and may result in development of diseases called alcoholic cardiomyopathy (where the heart muscle becomes too weak to pump efficiently) and atrial fibrillation (irregular and fast heart beat, putting you at increased risk of having a stroke), drinking alcohol moderately has beneficial effects.
Protection Against Diabetes
Red wine may protect against diabetes. Researchers studied nearly 2,000 women, all of whom were twins. They completed food questionnaires on their dietary habits. From this the researchers estimated their flavonoid intake. They found that those who consumed high levels of compounds called anthocyanins and flavones – both present in wine, red grapes, berries and chocolate – had lower insulin resistance. In diabetes, the body is unable to use the hormone insulin correctly and this leads to abnormal blood sugar levels. This is caused by insulin resistance so by lowering the amount of resistance, you lower the chance of developing diabetes. High levels of flavones in the diet also improved levels of a protein called adiponectin, which is a regulator of glucose and metabolism. The same study recommended having a small piece of dark chocolate with your glass of wine because it reduces blood pressure, improves blood flow and helps keep your arteries healthy.
Protection Against Obesity
Red wine may help you control your weight and prevent obesity even if you consume a higher number of calories. This is because the resveratrol present in red wine inhibited pre-fat cells from multiplying and prevented them from developing into mature fat cells. It also hampered fat storage and reduced the formation of inflammatory cytokines that are implicated with diabetes, heart disease and other inflammatory conditions. This may explain why French people eat a relatively high fat diet but don’t suffer the same obesity levels as people in other European countries. Researchers are continuing to study red wine’s fat busting properties and hope that one day they could develop the compound into a medicine to treat obesity.
Protection Against Alzheimer's
Red wine may protect your cognitive ability and prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's later in life. In studies of populations looking at the risk of Alzheimer's disease, it has been demonstrated that wine consumption has a significant protective effect against the disease. Alzheimer’s is caused by the build-up of a protein called amyloid. The protein clumps together to form ball shapes that then adhere to prions on the surface of the brain. This causes nerve cells to die and is why Alzheimer’s patients gradually lose awareness of what is going on around them. In more recent research, scientists found that when they added red wine to these amyloid balls, it would alter their shape and prevent them from attaching to the prions so that brain cells would be preserved and thus, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s prevented. If you want to stay young minded forever, drinking a glass of red wine is an enjoyable way to do it.
Article courtesy of Jenni Falconer