Red wine – does it deserve to have such a healthy reputation?

Red wine has been getting some pretty good press. Apparently it has more antioxidants than Açaí juice, it can protect your heart and prevent depression. We tend to think of red wine as being a relatively healthy tipple, but is that really true?

While your health-conscious friends spend money on expensive ‘miracle’ fruit juices that promise the elixir of youth, you can sit back and relax; your penchant for a glass of red wine might be the key to staying younger. Scientists agree that red wine in moderation can help to protect the heart, reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol and prevent blood clots. But it seems that nobody really knows exactly why.

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Fermented foods are good for digestion and alcohol itself has also shown some surprising traits over long-term moderate use.

A polyphenol called resveratrol, which is found in the skin of red grapes, is one substance in red wine that scientists are really excited about. It’s been hailed as a kind of wonder drug – an anti-ageing compound, which could (drum roll please) extend life, combat obesity and cure cancer. But while the indications are good (red wine is the most important dietary source for that magic polyphenol) there haven’t yet been human trials on the effectiveness of resveratrol although there is hope that it could be developed into a cancer-preventing drug.

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Researchers the University of Navarra recently published a report in the online journal BMC Medicine looking at the impact of red wine on reducing depression. They followed more than 5,500 light-to-moderate drinkers, aged 55 – 80, in Spain for up to seven years during a study on nutrition and cardiovascular health. They concluded that people who drank two to seven small glasses of wine each week were 30% less likely to develop depression than those who didn’t drink at all. The study doesn’t actually prove cause and effect; wine drinkers might be happier because of other lifestyle factors like having a normal social life and eating a Mediterranean style diet of which wine is a part.IMG_9704

There’s even a book called ‘The Red Wine Diet’ by Professor Roger Corder who insists that drinking red wine regularly is good for just about everything that might ail you, including heart disease, diabetes and dementia.

Clearly moderation is the key but whether it’s the pips or skin or lifestyle that goes with drinking red wine it seems that it really is good for you. Cheers!

Sources and further reading:

BBC – What’s behind it’s healthy reputation?

AMOG – Got the Blues? Drink a Glass of Red Wine

Daily Mail – Red wine can be good for you…but not if you’re already healthy

Daily Mail – Factfile red wine good for you

Wine Folly – Health Benefits of Red Wine

Mayo Clinic – Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?

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