Research shows that there are many potential health benefits that come from moderate wine consumption. (Note: moderate consumption is defined by the American Heart Association as one to two four-ounce glasses a day.)
In addition to being heart healthy, the occasional glass of red wine has some more surprising benefits. 🙂
1. Wine may lower cholesterol.
The antioxidants found in a glass of red wine have been shown to increase your levels of high-density lipids (HDL), also known as the “good” cholesterol and lower your “bad” cholesterol, or the low-density lipid (LDL). This may protect your arteries from damage and prevent blood clots because the antioxidants enable your blood to flow easily. The antioxidants in wine have been linked with many health benefits, including fighting inflammation and blood clotting, as well as reducing the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.
2. Wine may improve circulation.
Wine may also increase the levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are also known to have protective effects on heart and blood circulation.
3. Wine may reduce stress.
Here’s a benefit that most women are familiar with. Studies have found there is an association between moderate alcohol intake and lower levels of depression, anxiety and perceived stress. Or in other words, the occasional glass of wine may help you destress.
4. Wine may decrease your risks for diabetes.
Wine may improve your sensitivity to insulin, which is a great thing since insulin resistance is the most important critical factor contributing to type 2 diabetes risk. Improving sensitivity to insulin will ensure that your body takes up insulin properly.
5. Wine may improve mental health.
The antioxidants in red wine reduce the stickiness of blood platelets, helping keep blood vessels open and flexible. This helps keep your heart healthy, and as we talked about also improves circulation. This improved circulation enables your body to maintain a good blood supply to the brain, therefore reducing the risk for brain and mental impairment.
The skinny on wine, and what you need to know in relation to your fitness or weight loss goals:
Ditch the “low cal” wine.
There are very few low calorie wines floating around (and none I could find were red). The low cal wines that are on the market are made from the first grapes picked in the season. That’s because younger grapes contain less sugar and, therefore, less alcohol and fewer calories. The thing is, these wines still contain about 97 calories per 5 ounces. Which isn’t too bad . . . until you consider that regular wine only has around 105 calories per 5 ounces (this is the good news). With the numbers being so close, I’d recommend just sticking to regular wine.
Add some sparkle.
If you really want to cut out wine calories, mix a smaller amount of your wine with some club soda or sparkling water. Add some frozen fruit to make a wine spritzer.
Despite being linked to many health benefits, do remember that too much alcohol consumption can also damage your health and slow your fat loss progress. As with most things, moderation and balance is key. There are many other effective ways to improve your health that don’t require you to consume wine. If you love wine and do so in moderation, enjoy!
If you’re a regular wine drinker, be sure to watch for dehydration! Alcohol causes dehydration and water retention due to lack of electrolytes. You will retain water for several days after a long night of drinking. For those of us practicing the fat loss lifestyle, staying hydrated is a key aspect to curbing hunger and cravings. Be sure to re-hydrate your body after any alcohol intake. For every alcoholic beverage you consume, drink a glass of water. This will keep you from getting dehydrated and the dilution creates less strain on your liver and kidneys.