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National Wine Day - Is Drinking Wine Good For You?

Every year in the U.S. many people celebrate National Wine Drinking Day (it falls on February 18th this year!) Many people who imbibe often wonder if drinking wine actually has health benefits.

It should be noted that alcohol should not be consumed by minors, pregnant women, people with a history of alcohol addiction and people on certain medications. Also, drinking wine is only beneficial if a person’s drinking falls within the recommended guidelines: no more than 1 drink per day for women, and no more than 2 drinks per day for men.

Here’s what we know about the potential health benefits of wine:

Wine is a potent antioxidant.

Many diseases are caused by a phenomenon called oxidative stress, which happens when there’s an imbalance between antioxidants and harmful compounds called free radicals. A diet rich in antioxidants improves this balance and disables free radicals before they can cause damage.

Because wine originates from grapes, which have a high level of an antioxidant called resveratrol, wine is a good source of antioxidants. For instance, people who drank an average of one glass of wine a day were shown to have lower rates of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, conditions often associated with oxidative stress.

Wine has cardiovascular benefits.

Wine has been shown to have several beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. On average, people who drink in moderation (less than 1-2 drinks per day) have a 20% lower risk of dying from several forms of heart disease, including atrial fibrillation, heart attacks and heart failure.

People who drink in moderation have been shown to have lower rates of LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and higher rates of HDL (“good” cholesterol). Wine has also been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of strokes.

Wine can increase longevity.

Research from studies done in more than 14 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, Denmark, Germany, France, Russia, Sweden and the United States, shows that moderate drinkers have a longer life expectancy compared to both their
teetotaler (non-drinker) and heavy drinking counterparts.

There are several reasons for this -
First, moderate wine intake has a positive effect on many organs and systems in the body, decreasing the risk of heart disease, strokes, dementia, inflammatory conditions and certain cancers.

Second, people who drink wine and moderate amounts of alcohol are more likely to socialize with family and friends (aka social drinkers) than non-drinkers. And we know from other research that having meaningful relationships decreases the risk of death from many causes.

And third, people who drink moderate amounts of wine are also more likely to follow the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein, and low in trans fats, simple carbohydrates and sugar.

Red wine has more health benefits than white wine.

Both red and white wine tend to confer more health benefits than other forms of alcohol. However, between red and white wine, red wine has been shown to be more beneficial than white wine.

Researchers attribute this to the fact that grape skins are used to make red wine, and these skins are rich in resveratrol and other antioxidants. Because grape skins are removed during white wine production, white wines tend to have a lower resveratrol content than red wines.

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