Health Benefits of Red Wine: Resveratrol – Good for Your Heart?
Health Benefits of Red Wine
It is no surprise that most of us love to French it up from time to time. And, apart from loving the taste of wine we’ve also had medical validation that wine is actually good for our health! Recent studies have even proved that one glass of red wine is equivalent to running on a treadmill for an hour… Amazing, isn’t it! The reason for health benefits of red wine is nothing else but resveratrol that’s one of the substances in red wine.
But that’s not all: certain substances in red wine (known as antioxidants) in combination with alcohol may be of great help as prevention of heart disease. Namely, the combination leads to levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) increase and protect against artery damage.
Is it just wine that’s good for our health?
Even though doctors will never encourage their patients to drink alcoholic drinks it is evident that these types of drink do have some sort of health benefits. What is more, studies have suggested that it is not just red wine that helps our health; the list of alcoholic beverages includes other forms of alcohol too, such as white wine, beer and liquor. But, red wine is still at the top of the list, heart-healthy benefits speaking.
What happens when drinking red wine is that the lining of blood vessels in our heart may be protected by antioxidants contained in red wine. These antioxidants are called polyphenols. Still, most attention got a polyphenol called resveratrol.
Resveratrol in red wine
As mentioned in the introductory paragraphs, the key beneficial ingredient in red wine is resveratrol. It prevents damage to blood vessels as well as blood clots and it reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol).
Truth is, all research has been done on animals, not people. And apart from heart-healthy benefits, resveratrol in wine has appeared to help protect these animals from diabetes and obesity (it is known that these two are strong risk factors for heart disease). But, the findings are limited to only mice, not people. Plus, for the results to be the same on people as in mice studies, a person would need to consume over 1,000 liters of red wine per day. Highly unlikely, right?
The research has also been conducted on pigs. These findings have shown that resveratrol increases body’s ability to use insulin and that it improves heart function.
Yet, the tests have never been done on humans so whether all results are applicable on people too is hard to say.
What is usually omitted to mention, yet is a really important fact is that resveratrol’s effects only last a short time after drinking red wine. Hence, it tends not to have long-term results.
Resveratrol in grapes, supplements and other foods
Grape skin that’s used to make red wine contains resveratrol. Since white wine isn’t fermented as long as the red wine is, it contains less resveratrol. If grape skin contains resveratrol is it then enough to just eat grapes, you ask? Well, it kind of is. Drinking grape juice or simply eating grapes has been suggested as great non-alcoholic way of getting resveratrol in your system with almost the same heart-healthy benefits you’d get from drinking red wine.
Foods (other than grapes) that contain some resveratrol are: cranberries, blueberries and peanuts.
If you’d rather opt for resveratrol supplements, they are also available. Sadly, most of the resveratrol contained in the supplements isn’t likely to be absorbed by your body. But, good thing is – researchers haven’t found any harm in taking them.
Useful information for this article has been kindly provided by Jim’s Cellars.