Red Wine And Health (Free Full Report!)

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Red Wine And Health - Free Full Report
Red Wine And Health (Free Full Report!)
Graphic © Photo – Pixabay (PD)

I. History Of Medicinal Use Of Wine

Red wine has a long history of use – not only for social occasions but also in medicine. The medicinal role of wine dates back as early as 2200 BC, based on records from ancient Egyptian papyri and Sumerian tablets. One of the leading proponents of wine as part of a healthy diet was Greek physician Hippocrates who advocated its use as a disinfectant for wounds. Hippocrates used wine as a cure for diarrhea and lethargy as well as medication for pain during childbirth.

Wine was used in old times as a base for herbs, which are typically more soluble in wine than in water due to the alcohol content. Herbal tinctures are typically prepared in more recent times using 40% or more alcohol, which also functions as a long term preservative – however the alcohol in wine does have some preservative effect as well as drawing out the active components of the herbs.

The popularity of wine’s use for health was also promoted by religion. Paul the Apostle stressed the importance of drinking a little wine every day for the benefit of stomach and digestion. This information is found in Paul’s first epistle to Timothy. Avicenna, a Muslim physician, noted the efficiency of wine as a digestive aid but Islamic laws limited wine’s use as a disinfectant for dressing wounds. According to the book “The Oxford Companion to Wine”, Catholic monasteries across Europe and the Middle East also regularly used wine for medical treatments. [1]

The role of wine as part of a healthy lifestyle was put under the spotlight due to changing opinions and medical research on alcohol and alcoholism in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Several studies have emerged pointing out the negative effects of alcohol consumption including blood disorders, high blood pressure, liver damage, stroke, and infertility.

The health benefits of red wine re-entered the consciousness of many people as recent research posited the link between lower mortality rates and moderate wine drinkers. Wine, especially the red variety, has become a hot topic among researchers whose findings confirmed the role of red wine in protecting against certain cancers, improving mental health, and providing benefits to the heart.

This article explores the health benefits of red wine when consumed in moderation. Sections of this article will provide information on compounds that contribute to the beneficial effect of red wine on the body, and what moderate consumption is. Another part of this article will swipe on the risks of consuming too much red wine.

II. Chemical Composition of Red Wine

There are families of chemicals in red wine that contribute not only to its color and flavor but also play a huge role in the health benefits offered by the alcoholic drink. These key chemicals give the red wine its unique characteristics. According to estimates, red wines contain around 800 to 1000 compounds! Outlined below are the average concentrations of the major components of red wine:

• Water – 86%
• Ethanol – 12% (approx)
• Glycerol and Polysaccharides – 1%
• Different Types of Acids – 0.5%
• Volatile Compounds – 0.5% [2]

Of the water, alcohol, and phenolic compounds found in red wine, tannins, resveratrol, and quercetin have been the most studied. These polyphenols play a major role in improving cardiac function, preventing cardiovascular diseases, and modulating cellular and molecular mechanisms by offering anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and hypotensive responses. Some of these mechanisms have been well investigated in therapeutic and preventive approaches for cardiovascular diseases, cognitive disorders, and digestive health issues.

III. Health Benefits of Red Wine According To Scientific Research (note; not medical advice)

a. Reduces Risk of Depression

A Spanish study reported in the journal BMC Medicine showed the role of drinking wine in reducing the risk of depression. The researchers observed that subjects who consumed seven glasses of wine per week were less likely to be diagnosed with depression. Though the study considered lifestyle factors, the lower risk of developing depression remained. [3]

b. Boosts Heart Health

Numerous studies have shown that drinking moderate amounts of red wine could be beneficial to cardiovascular health. This effect is associated with the resveratrol found in the red grapes. A study published in the International Journal of Molecule Medicine confirmed the role of moderate alcohol intake in decreasing cardiac mortality due to atherosclerosis. [4]

c. Improves Cholesterol

The medical journal Atherosclerosis reported on an Australian study showed the value of regular consumption of red wine to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by lowering LDL cholesterol levels. The study’s subjects were postmenopausal women whose cholesterol levels were reduced by 8 percent. [5]

d. May Help Manage Diabetes

According to researchers from the University of Massachusetts, patients with type 2 diabetes could benefit from drinking red wine which may slow the passage of glucose through the small intestine and into the bloodstream. The study proposed the addition of red wine as part of a diabetic diet plan when consumed in moderate amounts. [6]

e. May Helps Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Research published in Frontiers in Aging and Neuroscience highlighted the role of the phenolic compound resveratrol in controlling the main features of Alzheimer’s disease and slowing the progression of dementia. The study forwarded resveratrol as an effective therapeutic tool in aging-related neurodegenerative processes. [7]

f. Slows Down Aging

Researchers from Harvard Medical School confirmed the anti-aging properties of resveratrol, which is one of the beneficial compounds found in red wine. They published their findings in the journal Cell Metabolism. Resveratrol comes from the skins of red grapes, blueberries, and nuts. [8]

g. Prevents Cancer

Red wine intake was found effective in decreasing the risk of breast cancer. A study carried out by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The researchers involved in the study attributed this benefit to the chemicals in the skins and seeds of red grapes that reduce estrogen levels which result in a lower risk of developing breast cancer. [9]

Note that many of these effects are associated with the red grapes, rather than with the alcohol. Pure organic red grape juice may have even greater health benefits.

IV. Risks of Consuming Too Much Red Wine

Alcohol was described by a Time magazine article as the Goldilocks of the nutrition world. Drinking too much wine can be destructive to your health – however a very moderate amount (for example 1 small to medium glass per day) appears to be associated with overall better health than complete abstinence. Just like any food, red wine has its pros and cons. For this section, the downsides of too much alcohol consumption are discussed.

a. Chronic heavy drinking can damage your liver. According to a study published in Prague Medical Report, large quantities of alcohol could lead to cirrhosis, which is a medical condition in which there is irreversible scarring of the liver. Cirrhosis is life-threatening, so the study discourages consumption of two to three glasses of wine every day. [10]

b. Regular intake of alcohol could lead to alcoholism or alcohol addiction. The World Health Organization classified alcoholism as a mental health disorder which is frequently accompanied by anxiety and mood disorders and antisocial personality disorder. [11]

c. Drinking a lot of wine has also been linked with an increased risk of premature death. A study reported in the British Medical Journal warned that binge drinking was linked to high risk of ischemic heart disease which could lead to myocardial infarction and coronary death. [12]

d. Heavy drinkers of wine could experience a higher risk of depression than moderate or non-drinkers. This was confirmed by a 2013 study that was published in the journal BMC Medicine. The researchers assessed the association between alcohol intake and incident depression. [13]

e. Resveratrol found in red wine could combat the aging process. However, too much of it does the opposite. According to a British research, high doses of resveratrol could damage muscle repair which is part of the body’s natural regeneration. The study warned that too much resveratrol does not support cells in the repair process. [14]

V. Conclusion

It is undeniable that overconsumption of red wine has devastating health consequences. Avoiding heavy drinking is important if you want to avoid certain types of cancer, high blood pressure, heart issues, stress, and other chronic medical conditions. Drinking a glass of red wine once in a while offers many health benefits, but it is important to keep it under firm control.

There are easy tricks that you could use to keep alcohol proportions small even during parties or special events. Some of them include drinking small amounts of wine, not exceeding five glasses per week, drinking wine with water on the side, and ordering small portions of wine when at the bar or parties.

Learn More:

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[1] Jancis Robinson. October 1, 2006. The Oxford Companion to Wine.

[2] Markoski MM et al. August 2, 2016. Nutrition and Metabolic Insights. Molecular Properties of Red Wine Compounds and Cardiometabolic Benefits.

[3] Honor Whiteman. August 13, 2013. A glass of wine a day may keep depression away.

[4] Wu JM et al. July 2001. Mechanism of cardioprotection by resveratrol, a phenolic antioxidant present in red wine (Review)

[5] Naissides M et al. April 2006. The effect of chronic consumption of red wine on cardiovascular disease risk factors in postmenopausal women.

[6] University of Massachusetts Amherst. “Red Wine, Tea, May Help Regulate Blood Sugar In Type 2 Diabetics, Research Suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2008.

[7] Alberto Granzotto and Paolo Zatta. May 14, 2014. Resveratrol and Alzheimer’s disease: message in a bottle on red wine and cognition.

[8] Rupert Shepherd. May 2, 2012. Red Wine Anti Aging Properties Confirmed.

[9] Chrisandra Shufelt, C. Noel Bairey Merz, YuChing Yang, Joan Kirschner, Donna Polk, Frank Stanczyk, Maura Paul-Labrador, Glenn D. Braunstein. Red Versus White Wine as a Nutritional Aromatase Inhibitor in Premenopausal Women. Journal of Women’s Health, 2011.

[10] Bruha R et al. 2009. Alcoholic liver disease.

[11] Enoch MA and Goldman D. February 1, 2002. American Family Physician. Problem drinking and alcoholism: diagnosis and treatment.

[12] Ruidavets JB et al. November 23, 2010. Patterns of alcohol consumption and ischaemic heart disease in culturally divergent countries: the Prospective Epidemiological Study of Myocardial Infarction.

[13] Gea A et al. August 30, 2013. Alcohol intake, wine consumption and the development of depression: the PREDIMED study.

[14] Dan Bloom. February 25, 2015. Why too much red wine is bad for you… and it’s not just the alcohol: Study revives row over ‘elixir of youth’ chemical claiming it could harm muscle in higher doses.

Article by Ed Saludes (RIP) for © 2021

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