Red Wine Health Benefits

Red Wine Health Benefits

Red Wine Health Benefits

Have you heard through the ‘grape vine’ that red wine is heart healthy?  Well, this may be attributed to a type of naturally occurring antioxidant (aka polyphenol) called resveratrol.  Today we will explore resveratrol, how it works along with the possible health benefits!

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What is Resveratrol?

Resveratrol is a type of antioxidant that is found in the skin of red grapes.  Red wine contains more polyphenols than white wine since red wine is fermented in grape skins for longer periods.  Resveratrol can be found in other foods as well such as grapes, peanuts, cranberries, blueberries and grape juice.

Wine grapes

Health Benefits of Red Wine:

  • Resveratrol appears to protect the lining of blood vessels by preventing plaque build-up, this decreases the risk for blockages in blood flow [known as cardiovascular disease (CVD)]
  • Antioxidants in red wine have anti-inflammatory properties, which lowers risk of blood vessels constricting
  • Red wine is linked to increased ‘good’ cholesterol which protect blood cells
  • Resveratrol appears to reduce breast and prostate cancer risk by decreasing cancer cell expansion and promoting excess cell death, which decreases the risk for cancerous tumors
  • Interestingly, resveratrol appears to mimic effects of a calorie restriction diet, which appears to support increased longevity
  • Resveratrol may improve our body’s response to sugar (improved insulin sensitivity), which could be beneficial for those with diabetes
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The Science on Resveratrol:

When reaching for a large glass of pinot noir you might want to hold on since most of the research on resveratrol has been done with animals and not humans.  Similarly, the amount of resveratrol needed to reap health benefits is still under debate and requires future research.

Since the research in resveratrol is still in its infancy, it is important to keep in mind:

  •   Resveratrol has poor bioavailability in the body, which means that the amount that humans can absorb from a moderate amount of wine may not be enough to yield significant benefits
  • Taking a resveratrol supplement, while there does not appear to be any harm, the dosage necessary to reap health benefits is not yet determined
  •   Resveratrol supplement absorption (bioavailablity) is also low. You might want to save your money if considering buying resveratrol supplements.

Wine glasses

Bottom Line:

It is quite possible that there may be health benefits from consuming red wine in moderation.  However, it is still too early to know the details.  Remember that drinking in moderation is crucial since excessive drinking is linked to increase risk of high blood pressurehigh triglycerides (fats in your blood), liver damageobesity and certain types of cancer.  Similarly, if you are a non-drinker, it is not recommended to start drinking.

Now you know the resveratrol facts so be cautious of what you hear through the ‘grape vine’.