Research indicates that red wine can boost a range of health factors. Several of these are based on the presence of resveratrol, a compound that is believed to offer a number of benefits.
Resveratrol is a compound that some plants produce to fight off bacteria and fungi and to protect against ultraviolet (UV) irradiation. The resveratrol in wine comes from the skins of red grapes. Blueberries, cranberries, and peanuts are also sources of resveratrol, and it is available in supplement form. Evidence suggests that in some forms, resveratrol may boost cardiovascular health, protect against cancer, and help treat acne, among others. Red wine contains resveratrol, but it may not be the best way to consume it, because the intake of alcohol brings its own risks.
1. Gut microbiome and cardiovascular health
Resveratrol may improve heart health in various ways. In 2016, researchers suggested that it could reduce the risk of heart disease through the way it affects the gut microbiome.
2. Raising levels of omega-3 fatty acids
A little alcoholic drink and especially red wine appear to boost levels of omega-3 fatty acids in plasma and red blood cells. Omega-3 fatty acids, believed to protect against heart disease, are usually derived from eating fish. Researchers found that, in 1,604 adult participants, regular, moderate wine drinking was linked to higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Heart health and type-2 diabetes
One study has shown that drinking a glass of red wine with dinner "modestly decreases cardiometabolic risk" in people with type-2 diabetes and that a moderate intake of red wine is safe. The scientists believe that the ethanol in wine plays a key role in metabolizing glucose and that the nonalcoholic ingredients may also contribute. They call for more research to confirm the findings. Anyone with diabetes should check with their doctor before consuming alcohol.
In 2006, scientists from the United Kingdom (U.K.) found that procyanidins, compounds commonly found in red wine, help keep the blood vessels healthy. Traditional production methods appear to be most effective in extracting the compounds, leading to higher levels of procyanidins in the wine. Many people find an alcoholic drink relaxes them, but results published in 2012 indicate that non-alcoholic red wine, too, can reduce blood pressure. This could be a more healthful option.
5. Reducing risk of depression
A team of researchers from Spain reported in 2013 that drinking wine may reduce the risk of depression. A study of data for around 5,500 men and women aged from 55 to 80 years over a 7-year period showed that those who drank between two and seven glasses of wine each week were less likely to receive a diagnosis of depression, even after taking lifestyle factors into consideration.
Wine consumption may have some health benefits, but drinking too much of any kind of alcoholic drink increases the risk of:
- mental health problems
- fatty liver
- alcoholic hepatitis
- several cancers
Many other chronic diseases can result from excessive alcohol consumption.