Red Wine Every Day Keeps the Heart A-OK!

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and naturally you may be looking forward to enjoying some wine with your loved one, maybe over a fancy dinner. Well, I’m here to tell you, bottoms up!

Now before I get ahead of myself, I want to make it clear that binging on alcohol is not okay. The benefits I’m about to talk about are only seen in individuals who drink moderately – about 1 glass per day for females or 1-2 glasses per day for males.

But let’s get to it, shall we?   

Red Wine is Healthy, Say What?!

Yep, I said it. Red wine is healthy (in moderation of course). Red wine contains a polyphenol called resveratrol. This compound is also found in white wine, but not nearly at the same concentration as in red wine. This is because resveratrol is found in excessive amounts in the skin and seeds of red grapes specifically.

Resveratrol has been linked to many benefits, like decreased risk of cancer, reduced risk of dementia, and reduced risk of heart disease. Wow, pretty powerful stuff!

Reduces Signs of Aging

Resveratrol is a potent antioxidant which is excellent at reducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by many things. Unfortunately, one source of oxidative stress that we can’t avoid is the metabolic processes that our cells undergo. So, we rely on antioxidants like resveratrol to help get rid of the waste.

If you haven’t seen my Instagram video on antioxidants and how they work, I’ll link it here for you. Then things should make a lot more sense.

Oxidative stress can increase signs of aging like wrinkles, loose skin and hair thinning/loss by creating free radicals which damage healthy cells. This is why many antiaging creams and serums contain them. Good news, a glass of red wine per day may be a good source of antioxidants too!

Good for Brain Health

As I’ve mentioned, red wine contains resveratrol, which has been proven in some studies to reduce the risk of dementia. Researchers believe that inadequate blood flow through the brain may increase risk of dementia – since the brain is not getting a constant, steady flow of oxygen. They believe this may be due to platelets becoming “sticky” in one’s blood, which slows down blood flow.

Platelets can become sticky for many reasons. One reason is the immune system can produce abnormal blood proteins called antiphospholipid antibodies, which can clump platelets together. Another reason is arterial plaque, which is made up of monocytes. Platelets can bind to monocytes, thus leaving them clumped or “sticky” and unable to float through our veins and arteries freely.

Thankfully, resveratrol has been proven to reduce this stickiness and help our blood circulate efficiently. Researchers believe that the reduced blood flow may contribute to the risk of dementia. Hey, if a glass of wine has the potential to reduce this risk then I am all for it!

The Key to Your Heart

Yes, it’s true, red wine has been proven to benefit heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. There are a few reasons why this may be true.

Some studies have shown that resveratrol decreases LDL cholesterol (often called the “bad” cholesterol) and also prevents blood clots. Plaque buildup in the arteries is one of the main causes for cardiovascular disease, so this is definitely good to know.

Another reason is that red wine contains compounds called procyanidins – a type of plant chemical known for its antioxidant and heart and brain protecting properties. Procyanidins help keep blood vessels healthy and flexible, which also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Procyanidins are also found in high concentrations in cacao and dark chocolate.

Red wine and dark chocolate are good for you? Sounds like Valentine’s Day is a healthy holiday to me!

Reduces Risk of Cancer

So, not only is red wine good for your heart, your brain, and your skin, but it may also reduce risk of some cancers. This is likely due to the antioxidant effects of resveratrol, procyanidins and other compounds found in red wine.

One study found that low doses of resveratrol reduced tumor size in mice by up to 50%. Of course, we are not mice, but this definitely sounds promising.

There is another component in red wine that I want to talk about – aromatase inhibitors, or AIs. These AIs have been proven to reduce estrogen levels and increase testosterone in women as they approach menopause. It is also known that excessive estrogen in the body is linked to breast cancer. This has led researchers to believe that moderate red wine intake may be another factor that helps reduce the risk of breast cancer in women.

Some researchers also claim that these and other compounds in red wine can reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men by nearly 50%.

The Takeaway

Now, I want to be clear about something. I lost a loved one to cancer. And while I know that red wine is not a one and only remedy or preventative, it may be a beneficial factor. Moderate red wine intake along with proper nutrition, adequate antioxidants, drinking enough water, getting enough exercise, and other factors may all work together to boost the immune system and effectively prevent cancer.

I also want to be clear that these studies I’m referring to talk about the benefits of red wine in moderation. Binge drinking alcohol has been linked to many adverse effects which would totally outweigh any of the proposed benefits that I mention above. Alcohol may not be the most effective solution, but when taken in moderation, it definitely doesn’t do any harm (unless you have an underlying condition).

So, this Valentine’s Day, keep your health in mind and surprise your loved one with a bottle of red, dark chocolate covered strawberries and some quality time. Valentine’s Day sure sounds like a holiday I can get behind!

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