Feb. 18 is National Drink Wine Day, and to celebrate properly I have outlined the top ways in which wine can benefit your health.
Much of the interest in wine, and red wine in particular, has to do with antioxidants. Known as polyphenols, they are thought to protect your body’s cells and tissues against damage that can lead to the development of diseases such as cancer and heart disease. The polyphenols in wine primarily come from the colored skins of grapes, so red wine tends to have a greater concentration of polyphenols than white wine. See below for the most compelling reasons to fill up your glass and celebrate National Drink Wine Day.
- Promotes longevity. Researchers at Harvard published a study suggesting that resveratrol, a compound found in the skin of red grapes, may provide anti-aging benefits by stimulating the production of a protein that protects the body from diseases caused by aging.
- Improves memory. Resveratrol also may help improve short-term memory. After just 30 minutes of testing, researchers found that participants taking resveratrol supplements had a significant increase in retention of words and showed faster performance in the hippocampus.
- Reduces the risk of heart disease. Studies suggest that procyanidins, compounds found in red wine tannins, help promote cardiovascular health. Wines produced in areas of southwest France and Sardinia, where people tend to live longer, have particularly high concentrations of the compound.
- Promotes eye health. An Icelandic study discovered that moderate drinkers were 32 percent less likely to develop cataracts than nondrinkers.
- Cuts cancer risk. A protein in grape skin can kill cancer cells, according to researchers in Virginia. The protein, resveratrol, helps starve cancer cells by blocking development of a key protein that feeds them.
- Improves dental health. Recent research implies antioxidants found in wine can slow bacterial growth in the mouth and potentially help prevent cavities. To test the theory, researchers treated cultures of bacteria responsible for dental disease with a variety of different liquids. Red wine was most effective in eradicating the bacteria.
- Lowers cholesterol. High-fiber varietals, such as tempranillo and rioja, may lower cholesterol levels. Health study participants given a grape supplement found in red wine saw a 9 percent drop in LDL (the “bad cholesterol” that can clog arteries). Those with established high cholesterol given the same supplement experienced a 12 percent drop in LDL.
- Helps fend off the common cold. Thanks to the antioxidants found in red wine, a glass of red wine per day may steer off the common cold.