“A glass of wine a day helps keep your heart healthy.”
This adage has always been one frequently heard from regular wine drinkers, more often than not used to reason out why they drink. While many believe this to be a mere excuse to drink, even more, there is actually some scientific basis to give credence to the age-old fitness tip.
Antioxidants in Red Wine
Red wine, in particular, contains some antioxidants, which health buffs would know is related to the prevention of heart disease and cancer. Apart from this, the antioxidants are believed to increase the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol—also known as good cholesterol—in the blood; a factor which could also point towards the lessened risk of heart disease.
The most famous antioxidant in red wine is known as resveratrol, the polyphenol lauded for making the alcoholic beverage “healthy.” As an antioxidant, it protects the lining of your blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol—known as bad cholesterol—and prevent blood clots.
Where does resveratrol come from?
The resveratrol contained in red wine comes from the skins of the grapes it’s composed of. Unlike white wine, the grape’s skin is left to be fermented for prolonged periods, allowing the transfer of more of the antioxidant into the drink. Depending on the process, the specific amount of it can vary, which is why some red wine can have more of it than others.
Regular intake of this polyphenol is hypothesized to lower the risk of heart disease, which is unfortunately unverifiable up to writing. While the presence of the anti-oxidant is clear in red wine, it can not be firmly concluded that increased amounts of it can promote a healthy heart.
How else can you take resveratrol?
Resveratrol can actually be found in grapes, grape juice, blueberries, cranberries, and even peanuts. Ingestion of these is actually highly preferred as they do not contain any alcoholic content—making it safe and healthy to consume for all ages. Resveratrol supplements are also widely available in the market; unfortunately, however, these aren’t completely absorbed in the body, thus making it a costly supplement to intake.
Should you drink wine?
While red wine is definitely considered under the spectrum of a “healthy” drink, it is still an alcoholic beverage, which can potentially undermine the whole point of healthy living. Despite its bad reputation, however, alcohol also has some minor health benefits—but only if taken in moderation.
Studies point to low intake of alcohol improving overall heart health by reducing possibilities of blood clots, preventing artery damage, and improving the lining of your blood vessels. This only remains true for low to moderate alcohol intake, however, as increased levels of alcohol potentially work the other way around.
At the end of the day, red wine—for all of its ups and downs—is still an alcoholic beverage with no concrete conclusions about its benefits to health. As such, avoidance is still the best response, if possible, or at least low to moderate intake when needed.
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