We all have our guilty pleasures, even those of us in the health and wellness industry. For me, it’s a glass or two of red wine, and dark chocolate. A glass of wine makes a good meal that much better, and nothing makes me happier than finishing my meal with a piece or two of rich, dark chocolate.
I’ve already shared with you the BENEFITS OF DARK CHOCOLATE and why I happily continue to include it in my regular diet, and today I want to share some not-so-known benefits of WINE.
New studies are constantly backing up the health benefits of wine (for moderate drinkers). But like most things, the quantity, quality, and timing (when you consume it) all matters.
Luckily for me, there is a ton of research backing up the benefits of wine. This includes:
- Longer life. Studies show that resveratrol, and antioxidant in wine, can help improve longevity.
- Better immunity. Moderate wine consumption can ward off infections and boost the immune system.
- Weight loss benefits. Research shows that people who drink a glass of wine a day are less likely to be overweight. (But beware, drink more than that in a day and this benefit can be reversed!)
- Improve bone density. Red wine has high levels of silicon, which increases your bone mineral density and reduces the chance of osteoporosis, plus helps get you drowsy at night.
- Reduce risk of stroke and heart disease. Moderate consumption of wine acts as a natural blood thinner which can prevent blood clotting. Plus, the tannins found in red wine contain “procyanidins” which neutralize free radicals and can help prevent cardiovascular disease. But again, more than the moderate consumption (1-2 glasses) can actually increase your risk of heart problems, so beware!
- Lower insulin sensitivity and risk of type 2 diabetes. There is research showing that wine – primarily due to the resveratrol - can improve insulin sensitivity, which can mean lower chances of heart problems and diabetes.
- Reduce risk of cancer. The risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer can be reduced by drinking a glass of wine, particularly red wine whose resveratrol fights against cancerous cells.
HOW MUCH IS BENEFICIAL?
Wine, just like any substance with alcohol, must be consumed in SMALL amounts. A proper glass of wine is just 5-ounces (usually fills about ½ to ¾ of your wine glass). And “moderate drinking”, or what is “clinically” considered to be healthy, is only one glass for women and two glasses for men.
Unfortunately, studies show that consuming MORE than 2 glasses of wine per day can give you the OPPOSITE of the health benefits mentioned above. Risks include:
- Increased appetite and weight gain
- Increased risk of disease (and for women in particular, excess wine can increase risk of breast cancer given the estrogenic properties)
- Disrupted sleep
- Imbalances blood sugar levels (leading to more cravings) and hormones
WHEN AND WHAT TO DRINK
Wine is meant to be consumed with a meal as the food will help absorb some of the alcohol, and therefore help mitigate the negative impact on your blood sugar and hormones. Ideally, you want to have your wine right after your meal, so your body prioritizes metabolizing the healthy food first, and THEN the alcohol.
What wine is best?
I always say, when you choose your guilty pleasures, choose them well. Go for what you like most, and have it in SMALL amounts. Red or white won’t make a significant difference if you keep it to 1-2 glasses.
But generally, you want the wine to be DRY (because the sweeter it is, obviously the higher sugar content). And look for a good quality wine (a cheap wine may not be fully fermented and may even have added sugar) that is pleasant to your palate, and ideally, look for organic wines, where the grapes are grown without the heavy pesticides that can irritate your gut.
So now, go enjoy a glass of a delicious wine, and remember, benefits come when consuming in small amounts. So sip it slowly and savor that glass.
Love and Wine,