Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent coronary artery disease, a condition that leads to heart attacks. Any links between red wine and fewer heart attacks aren’t completely understood.
Red wine contains resveratrol, which appears to have a number of health benefits. Research also 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 that include:
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.
Raising levels of omega-3 fatty acids
A little alcoholic drink, especially red wine, appears 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.
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 a moderate intake of red wine is safe. The scientists believe the ethanol in wine plays a key role in metabolising glucose, and the nonalcoholic ingredients may also contribute. They have called for more research to confirm the findings.
Healthy blood vessels, blood pressure
In 2006, scientists from the United Kingdom 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.
Brain damage after stroke
Resveratrol may protect the brain from stroke damage, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Results from tests on mice showed that resveratrol increased levels of heme oxygenase, an enzyme known to protect nerve cells in the brain from damage. When a stroke occurs, the brain is ready to protect itself because of higher enzyme levels.
Preventing vision loss
Resveratrol in red wine may help prevent vision loss caused by out-of-control blood vessel growth in the eye, according to findings published in 2010. Diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration are leading causes of blindness among Americans aged 50 years and above. This is due to an overgrowth of blood vessels in the eye, known as angiogenesis.
Preventing colon cancer: Scientists in the U.K. reported in 2015 that consuming low doses of resveratrol can reduce the size of bowel tumours by approximately 50 per cent. Higher doses reduced tumour size by 25 per cent.
Preventing breast cancer: Regular consumption of most alcoholic drinks increases the risk of breast cancer. However, thanks to chemicals in the seeds and skins of red grapes, women who drink red wine in moderation may be spared this risk.