Wine, glorious wine. From a cold, crisp glass of white on a sunny day to a hearty red by the fire in winter, this is the connoisseur’s tipple of choice. The only trouble is, although many people enjoy the complex flavors and aromas that this grape-based beverage boasts, enthusiasts often feel guilty when they pop a cork and pour themselves a glass. After all, everyone knows the health risks associated with consuming too much alcohol.
However, when drunk in moderation, wine can in fact be good for people. So, next time you reach for your favorite bottle or take advantage of the impressive wine deals now available, you needn’t feel bad!
Warding Off Dementia
Everyone knows that too much booze can result in short-term memory loss. However, when consumed sensibly, it seems wine can actually have the opposite effect and preserve people’s memories. A team from Loyola University Medical Center analyzed data from scientific papers on red wine since 1977. They found a statistically significantly lower risk of dementia among regular, moderate red wine drinkers in 14 of 19 countries.
According to those behind the research, the resveratrol in wine keeps blood vessels open and flexible since it reduces the stickiness of blood platelets. As a result, this maintains a good supply of blood to the brain.
Boosting the Immune System
We all want to avoid getting sick and, who knows, maybe there are some of us out there that want to live forever. Wine can’t help us with the latter, but it can certainly lend a hand with the former. A British study found that people who drink roughly one glass of wine per day reduced their risk of infection by Helicobacter pylori bacteria by 11%. This nasty little bacterium is a major cause of stomach ulcers, gastritis, and stomach cancer. Meanwhile, Spanish research has uncovered as little as half a glass to help to protect people from food poisoning caused by bacteria such as salmonella.
Building the Bones
Then there are the benefits for the bones. According to research, on average, women who drink moderately have a higher bone mass than non-drinkers. This may be because alcohol appears to boost estrogen levels, this hormone slowing the body’s destruction of old bone more than it slows the production of new bone.
Keeping Diabetes at Bay
Diabetes is becoming increasingly common in developed countries. However, experts have discovered that resveratrol (there it is again!) improves people’s sensitivity to insulin, thus lowering their risk of developing this blood sugar problem. Meanwhile, a ten-year study conducted by a team at Harvard Medical School discovered that premenopausal women who drink one or two glasses of wine a day are 40% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women who don’t drink.
Now that you can feel that bit better about sipping a glass of your favorite wine, you might be looking for some healthy foods that go perfectly with the beverage. Red wine is a great accompaniment to a range of meals, including wholesome soups and stews. A light red, such as a pinot noir, works superbly with fish.
If you fancy something sweet, why not enjoy red wine with dark chocolate? This tasty treat is also known to have various health benefits.
Stronger bones, a more robust immune system and a mind that can stand up to the threat of dementia … just some of the wonders that a glass or two of wine can work. Then there’s the fact that it can decrease your exposure to potential diabetes. Maybe instead of an apple a day, it will be a glass of wine that keeps the doctor away!
Fiona Griffin is a wine connoisseur who loves a drop of merlot. Along with her glasses of wine, she likes to enjoy the crime fiction of Lynda La Plante.