Fact or Myth: Health Benefits of Wine

Is wine bad for you? It can be. Is wine good for you? It can be. That’s one simple answer to a much more complicated subject, the health benefits of drinking wine. The truth is that there are many health benefits to drinking wine. It’s good for your skin and eyes. It’s heart healthy, and it can reduce your risks for some cancers.

But drinking too much wine can ruin them all by increasing your risk factors for alcoholism, heart disease, weight gain, sleep disorders, pancreatitis and other ailments. Hate to spoil the party, but those are nothing to celebrate.

Like anything else, we need to enjoy wine in moderation for it to provide us with health benefits. That goes against human nature. Why have only one glass of wine when livens our meal, makes us happier and tastes delicious?

Let’s get the bad out of the way so we can focus on the benefits of drinking wine and get back to the party.

Wine itself isn’t bad for you, but alcohol can be. Some people have a negative reaction to the tannins or sulfites in wine. They may get flush or dizzy and have headaches. Some people are allergic to wine or grapes. But this is more an issue with an individual and not a problem with wine.

Wine is only bad for you because it is an alcoholic drink. Alcohol is linked to many health problems, and you can’t hide from them by drinking wine.

Addiction

Alcohol addiction can tear families apart and ruin people’s lives. Alcoholics lose interest in everyday life and make poor decisions when drunk. Alcoholism can lead to drunk driving arrests, imprisonment and termination of employment. So much more could be said about this awful affliction.

Weight Gain

Alcohol is high in calories. Wine also has a lot of carbohydrates. If you stick to a glass or two a day, you may only be taking in around 200 calories. But increase that to a half a bottle a day, and you are adding around 1,800 calories to your diet without any nutrients.

Plus, when we drink wine we like rich snacks like cheese and crackers, pate, olives and more. We add calories by drinking, and we add even more with our snacks. You can’t jog it all off. You have to reduce your caloric intake, or you will gain weight.

Heart Disease

We’ll get to how wine can be healthy for your heart, but for now, let’s stick to the bad stuff. Drinking too much wine can cause high blood pressure and lead to a heart attack or stroke. Prolonged wine intake can raise the triglycerides in your blood and cause an irregular heartbeat. Tannins in wine can affect your blood’s ability to clot when necessary.

Cirrhosis and Pancreatitis

Excessive consumption of wine and other alcoholic beverages burdens your pancreas and liver and can lead to pancreatitis or cirrhosis. These conditions are usually found among heavy drinkers, but since alcohol is so addictive, all drinkers are at risk.

Sleep disorders

Drinking wine might help you fall asleep, but alcohol disrupts the sleep cycle. You may wake feeling like you never slept at all. You’ll want a glass of wine to make you feel better, and you may never feel well rested. Diet and exercise also affect sleep, so these may need to be considered as well.

OK, enough bad news. Drinking wine—in moderation—has some health benefits which should be recognized and lauded. When reading these positive things, start each sentence with “in moderation.”

Wine is Good for Your Heart

Many researchers have found a link between wine drinking and decreased heart disease. They’re probably happier people, too. Wine also increases the “good” cholesterol, HDL, in our blood which helps rid us of the “bad” cholesterol, the clogging LDL.

Wine Decreases Osteoporosis

Women, especially as they age, are twice as likely as men to develop osteoporosis. But women who drank wine in moderation throughout their lives had greater hip bone density than non-drinkers or excessive drinkers. This decreased their chances of a hip fracture in their later years, according to research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. That’s as good a reason as any to have another glass. But here is an even better one…

Wine Prevents Cancer

Before you make any assumptions, it’s important to learn about how wine is made and what it can provide your body. Wine is rich in antioxidants which play a role in defending our bodies from disease by neutralizing harmful free radicals. Free radicals enter our bodies through our diets and from pollution in our air and water. They cause cellular damage by stealing electrons from other molecules. Don’t worry too much about the science. Free radicals are bad, and antioxidants are good.

In the 1990’s scientists discovered that fruits and vegetables containing antioxidants could stop free radicals before they did damage to our bodies. This caused a rise in popularity among foods rich in antioxidants like blueberries, pomegranates and grapes. Guess what has more antioxidants than all of them? Red wine! What a noble excuse it gives us to have a glass!

Wine Battles Other Diseases

The antioxidant resveratrol found in wine inhibits the growth of bacteria. This can help your teeth, gums and skin from developing bacterial diseases.

Resveratrol increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin which can prolong Type 2 diabetes. Resveratrol also restricts blood vessels in the eyes and can slow macular degeneration.

Wine contains a compound called polyphenols which can aid your body in fat storage and blood sugar regulation. Diabetics who can tolerate drinking wine can benefit from its properties.

The benefits of wine are just as possible as the detriments. Both can be true, and both can be false. You probably won’t get pancreatitis from having a few glasses of wine, but you won’t likely be curing cancer, either.

There are benefits to drinking wine, but drinking too much can cause you problems. Enjoy wine in moderation — or maybe a little more than in moderation — and hope the good things will always outweigh the bad things.

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