Is red wine good for you? Here are 5 potential health benefits, according to studies

When it comes to alcohol, maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t exactly the main reason most people drink. That being said, if you’re looking for guilt-free indulgence, red wine has long been considered one of the “healthier” choices in alcoholic beverages.

So, is red wine actually good for you? This is a debate that has intensified in recent years thanks to exciting studies. Although some reports conclude that there is simply no healthy amount of alcohol, many published articles point out the benefits of red wine on us.

Over the years, StudyFinds has published a number of these reports. Here’s a look at seven studies that suggest drinking red wine (in moderation and with your doctor’s approval) may be good for you.

Red wine, even occasionally, can improve gut health

People who drink red wine benefit from an increased diversity of gut microbiota compared to non-drinkers. They also show lower levels of “bad” cholesterol and obesity.

The London-based study aimed to investigate the effects of red wine, white wine, cider, beer and alcohol on the gut microbiome and overall health of 916 UK-born twin girls. The results show that the gut microbiomes of red wine drinkers were more diverse than participants who preferred other forms of alcohol.

The gut microbiota of red wine drinkers contained a greater number of different bacterial species compared to other participants. This was found to be true even in three additional population samples, including studies from the UK, US and the Netherlands.

The study hypothesizes that the polyphenols present in red wine could be the source of this bacterial diversity. These chemicals provide various benefits such as antioxidants. They are also believed to act as fuel for microbes in the human body. According to the results, the study indicates that drinking red wine once every two weeks should be enough to promote a healthier gut!

READ MORE: Toast To This: Red wine drinkers benefit from better gut health

Just a glass of wine with dinner can help prevent diabetes

Researchers from Tulane University report that drinking wine with dinner may help stave off diabetes. Compounds in grape skin fight metabolic disease by reducing blood sugar levels, scientists say. But drinking beer or alcohol with food increases the risk.

The finding is based on data from 312,000 UK residents who describe themselves as regular drinkers. Those who drank a glass of wine or two – especially red – with meals were 14% less likely to develop the metabolic disease over the next decade.

“Drinking moderate amounts of wine with meals may prevent type 2 diabetes if you have no other health conditions that may be adversely affected by moderate alcohol consumption and in consultation with your doctor,” says lead author Dr. Hao Ma, a biostatistical analyst at Tulane University’s Center for Obesity Research.

Wine is rich in healthy plant chemicals, including resveratrol, which acts as an antioxidant. The red varieties are particularly abundant in the compound.

READ MORE: Having a glass of wine with dinner can help you stave off diabetes

Three glasses of red a week improve blood pressure?

Foods rich in flavonoids such as berries, wine, apples and pears have a positive effect on blood pressure levels. The results also show a link with the influence of the gut microbiome.

In the study, the researchers recruited 904 adults between the ages of 25 and 82 for this project. Aiming to study the association between the consumption of foods rich in flavonoids in relation to blood pressure and the diversity of the intestinal microbiome.

The results reveal that participants who ate a lot of flavonoid-rich foods had both lower systolic blood pressure levels and a greater diversity of gut microbiomes than those who ate very little. Moreover, up to 15.2% of the link between flavonoid-rich foods and blood pressure could indeed be explained by the diversity of the gut microbiome. Thus, drinking about three glasses of red wine per week (125 ml of wine per glass) can lower blood pressure by an average of 3.7 mm/Hg. The gut microbiome also accounts for about 15% of this benefit.

However, these results should not be used as an excuse to drink more alcohol. For those who decide to drink a little more wine, the study suggests that you consult your doctor first.

READ MORE: How 3 glasses of red wine a week and a daily dose of berries can improve blood pressure

Enjoy this wine and cheese pairing for better brain health

If the sight of a cheese platter and fine wine at a party thrills you, you’re in luck! Scientists say this popular association may actually contribute to better cognitive health as you age, which may also help fight Alzheimer’s disease.

The study looked at the health records of almost 1,800 adults aged 46 to 77 in the UK. The findings reveal a surprising diet that may provide an unlikely defense against cognitive decline later in life. In addition, cheese offers the best protection against age-related cognitive problems. Its impact is significantly higher than that of any other food mentioned in the report. But not just cheese. The study also reveals that drinking red wine daily can improve cognitive function as you age.

Depending on the genetic factors you carry, some people seem to be more protected against the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, while others seem to be at higher risk. That said, good food choices can completely prevent disease and cognitive decline.

READ MORE: More wine and cheese may help reduce cognitive decline and fight Alzheimer’s disease

Is red wine the key to human walking on Mars?

One of the biggest issues humans face when considering deep space exploration is the effect it will have on our bodies. Without gravity, human muscles and bones quickly deteriorate and lose strength. According to NASA, a trip to Mars would take about nine months. So by the time a team of astronauts traveled to Mars, their muscles and bones would likely be so weak that they would be unable to walk.

However, a new study has discovered a possible solution to this problem: resveratrol.

In this experiment, rats were put in a full body harness and suspended by a chain from the ceiling of their cage. The rats were exposed to the gravitational pull of Mars (40% of Earth’s) in this way for 14 days. Half of the rats received 150 mg of resveratrol every day mixed in their drinking water, while the other part of the rats received plain water. The results undeniably indicate that resveratrol can help halt the effects of low gravity; rats that were supplemented with resveratrol almost completely retained their fore and hind paw grip. In addition, the muscle mass of the lower legs and calves was completely protected and the loss of slow-twitch muscle fibers was reduced.

Resveratrol, a compound found in grape skins, blueberries and red wine, may hold the answer to overcoming this dilemma. It showed the ability to significantly preserve muscle mass and strength in rats exposed to simulated Mars gravity. It has been shown to preserve bone and muscle mass in rats during full unloading, analogous to microgravity during spaceflight.

Additionally, the study indicates that much of resveratrol’s effectiveness is likely related to its ability to increase insulin sensitivity. Resveratrol is also an anti-inflammatory, which helps maintain muscle and bone.

READ MORE: Could red wine be the key to humans walking on Mars?

Red wine lovers can certainly rejoice after reading this exciting collection of research. That said, there are also plenty of studies indicating that alcohol also comes with a host of potentially harmful effects to the body. It is extremely important to consult a doctor before making any changes to your diet and lifestyle, especially regarding alcohol.