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how does red wine affect human health?
Rumor has it that red wine can increase one's lifespan despite it being alcoholic. But does research support this hypothesis? Let's find out.
Is Red Wine Good for Your Health?
The fondness for red wine has been around for the better part of most recorded history in religious settings, parties, and many other forms of social gatherings. Most notably, it's become one of the most exclusive alcohol beverages in most romantic settings in modern times. Most preferred examples of red wine include Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Shiraz.
That said, the debate about the possible health benefits of wine, specifically red wine, has gone on for a very long time but now the verdict is in. The anticipation begs the question, what are the health benefits of red wine and at what level does it stop being healthful? "What makes red wine good for my health and how often should I take it to get the most out of it?” Let's put flesh on the bones of these inquiries.
Health Benefits of Red Wine
Research suggests that the health benefits of red wine are enormous, to say the least. To begin with, red wine is extracted from crushed whole dark grapes whose skin has naturally occurring antioxidants such as proanthocyanidins, catechins, resveratrol, and epicatechins. More specifically, the proanthocyanidins and resveratrol contained in red wine are excellent for reducing oxidative stress in the body. In layman's terms, oxidative stress is a contributing factor to diseases such as those of the heart as well as cancer. In other words, antioxidants play a significant role in reducing the likelihood of contracting these chronic diseases. That said, there's a wide range of effects of red wine on the body and these include but are not limited to:
- cardiovascular effects
- gut effects
- liver effects
- the likelihood of certain types of cancer is diminished
- effects on vision loss
- effects on dementia
- effects on depression
It shouldn't come as a surprise that cardiovascular diseases are some of the most troubling, but did you know that they count as some of the leading causes of mortality around the world? As such, anything aimed at contributing to the reduction of the mortality rate is a welcome addition. Luckily, research indicates that there is a direct correlation between red wine intake and the likelihood of contracting heart diseases. For instance, the probability of contracting heart disease is 32% lower for people who drink the recommended amount of 5 ounces of red wine per day. In contrast, excessive drinking of red wine will rather lead to cardiovascular diseases. In other words, you are better off with whole dark grapes for antioxidants than drinking red wine in excess solely for its antioxidative properties.
The gut is one of the areas of the human anatomy where there's been an extensive level of research. According to 2012 research, it was found that some naturally occurring compounds in red wine may help encourage healthy microbial activities in the gut by acting as prebiotics. A subsequent 2018 research also produced nearly identical findings that the polyphenols contained in red wine equally help to provide much healthier microbes in the gut.
Also, although there's very limited research, the findings of a 2016 research pointed out the positive microbial effect of red wine in the gut could reduce one's likelihood of contracting heart diseases.
The liver is a very important organ in the human body as it's responsible for a plethora of functions which include detoxification and the regulation of blood clotting and blood sugar levels. That said, red wine could have some healthful effects on the liver. According to the findings of a 2018 research, it has the potential to lower fibrosis in patients with nonalcoholic-related fatty liver disease.
Its Effect on Cancer
According to extensive research, the intake of the recommended amounts of red wine regularly could reduce one's risk of getting certain types of cancers such as prostate cancer, breast cancer, and lung cancer.
Research shows that the naturally occurring resveratrol in red wine can prevent one from contracting lung cancer. Resveratrol operates by inhibiting metastasis and the proliferation of cancerous cells by causing the cells to die.
Red wine has also been linked to the prevention of prostate cancer in men. According to research findings, drinking red wine in recommended amounts could drastically lower the risk of getting prostate cancer.
Also, while alcohol may elevate the production of estrogen which encourages the growth of cancerous cells in the breast, red wine works to reduce estrogen production in women who are close to menopause.
Due to the antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of resveratrol in red wine, moderate intake of red wine over time may inhibit vision impairment.
Effects on Dementia
Referring to the findings in a 2018 research, it was discovered that individuals who never drank red wine were at high risks of getting dementia. This phenomenon was attributed to the insufficiency of the protective effects of naturally occurring compounds like polyphenols contained in red wine on neurons.
Depression is a serious condition that affects a person's mood and can be described as feelings of anger or sadness. It often harms a person's daily life and can even influence one's productivity at work. Severe forms of depression may require one to be hospitalized. According to research, frequent moderate intakes of red wine may decrease one's likelihood of getting depressed. In contrast, excessive drinking will have the opposite effect.
Health Hazards of Excessive Drinking of Red Wine
Aside from alcoholism and its wide range of effects on one's finances, and social life, abusing red wine regularly could have many potentially severe health repercussions on the body. These include:
- heart problems
- alcohol dependence
- liver damage
- mental health conditions
- certain cancers
- increased risk of death
It's clear as day that the health benefits derived from red wine are enormous all thanks to the antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of compounds like resveratrol, polyphenol, and proanthocyanidins. That said, abusing it in excess may very well cause the very diseases it could have prevented such as cancer.