The Science Behind Health Benefits of Red Wine

red wine health benefits

 

How much red wine should you drink?

This is how the alcoholic drink is explained, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

One drink is defined as 12 fluid ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol), 5 fluid ounces of wine (12% alcohol), or 1.5 fluid ounces of 80 proof (40% alcohol) distilled spirits. One drink contains 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol.

When women and men drink the same amount of alcohol, women will have a higher BAC (blood alcohol concentration) because they are less tolerant to alcohol than men.

The low tolerance has nothing to do with the body weight or size, as scientists used to believe. The main reason women are less tolerant is because they have a higher fat content than men and fat does not absorb any alcohol.

In Europe and America, this is considered to be:

1–1.5 glasses a day for women

1–2 glasses a day for men

How much red wine should you drink?

Drink in moderation – this is the best answer a scientific research can provide.

For women, this means one drink per day, and for men, two drinks or less. One drink is considered 5 ounces of wine.

This, however, doesn’t mean you should drink every day a glass of wine, 2 to 3 times a week is considered moderate consumption.

 

Negative Health Effects of Drinking Alcohol

According to the World Health Organisation:

The harmful use of alcohol results in 3.3 million deaths every year, representing 5.9% of all deaths. 

Alcohol consumption is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions. Overall 5.1% of the global burden of disease and injury is attributable to alcohol.

If you are a moderate drinker you already get all the benefits from the wine. However, consuming too much wine can cause devastating effects to your body and mind.

There is a strong reason why wine sometimes gets a bad reputation. Let’s explore what can happen if we know no balance.

 

Alcohol dependence

As of 2013, alcohol dependence is classified as alcohol use disorder in which an individual is both psychologically and physically dependent upon alcohol consumption. This is one of the main causes of various diseases and disabilities in many countries.

 

Depression

A glass of wine can help with a depression, but a bottle can contribute to a major depression. Heavy drinkers are at a much higher risk of triggering other mental illnesses.

People drink intentionally when stressed to improve mood and relieve anxiety. It may provide a temporary relief but it can worsen overall mental health. Above all, alcohol intake and depression are interdependent.

“Individuals with different drinking motives show distinctive patterns of alcohol use and problems. Drinking to cope, or endorsing strong coping motives for alcohol use, has been shown to be particularly hazardous. It is important to determine the unique triggers associated with coping drinking.”

 

Premature death

Yes, alcohol can decrease the risk of premature death, but at the same time, the third main cause of premature death is alcohol abuse. Traffic crashes, accidents, chronic diseases and various social problems often have a cause in over consumption.

 

Liver cirrhosis

If you drink 2–3 glasses of wine each day, you are at risk of developing liver disease.

“Chronic intake of large quantities of alcohol causes damage to many organs, the liver being the most often affected one. In advanced countries, mortality due to liver diseases is directly proportional to alcohol consumption. ”

The last stage of liver damage, cirrhosis, is life threatening.

 

Weight gain

Energy content in 1 gram of alcohol is 29 kJ or 7.1 kcal.

If you think sugary drinks have more calories, think twice. Red wine contains twice the amount of calories as soft drinks and beer. Excessive consumption can easily wreak havoc to your metabolism and you can quickly gain weight.

According to a study:

“Heavy alcohol intake contributes directly to weight gain and obesity, irrespective of the type of alcohol consumed.”

Remember: alcohol is the second most energy rich nutrient after fat.

As long as you don’t drink more than 1-2 glasses per day, you will maintain your weight and reap health benefits.

Moderate consumption is the key if you want to experience health benefits from red wine.

 

The conclusion?

Wine is the sixth most consumed drink in the world. The results so far are promising, but more research is needed to clarify the benefits of red wine.

You can still enjoy wine if you consume it in moderation.

Source:

  1. Celotti E and others. Resveratrol content of some wines obtained from dried Valpolicella grapes: Recioto and Amarone. Journal of Chromatography A 730(1-2): 47-52, 1996.
  2. Soleas GJ, Diamandis EP, Goldberg DM. Resveratrol: A molecule whose time has come? And gone? Clinical Biochemistry 30:91-113, 1997.
  3. Kopp P. Resveratrol, a phytoestrogen found in red wine. A possible explanation for the conundrum of the ‘French paradox’? European Journal of Endocrinology 138:619-620, 1998.
  4. Jang M and others. Cancer chemopreventive activity of resveratrol, a natural product derived from grapes. Science 275:218-220, 1997.
  5. Gehm H and others. Resveratrol, a polyphenolic compound found in grapes and wine, is an agonist for the estrogen receptor. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. 94:557-562, 1997.
  6. Tomé-Carneiro J. and others. Resveratrol in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease: a dietary and clinical perspective. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1290:37-51, 201 .
  7. Wong RHX and others. Evidence for circulatory benefits of resveratrol in humans. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1290:52-58, 2013.
  8. Bishayee A. Cancer prevention and treatment with resveratrol: from rodent studies to clinical trials. Cancer Prevention Research 2:409-418, 2009.
  9. Pearson KJ and others. Resveratrol delays age-related deterioration and mimics transcriptional aspects of dietary restriction without extending life span. Cell Metabolism 8:157-168, 2008.
  10. Vang O. and others. What is new for resveratrol? Is a new set of recommendations necessary? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1290:1-11, 2013.

 
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