Is drinking wine good for your health?

Is drinking wine good for your health? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Moderate – note MODERATE! – wine consumption does appear to have health benefits – especially red wine.

Red, white or pink?

That’s because red wine is fermented together with the skin of the grapes, and grape skin contains beneficial compounds called flavonoids.

Because its fermentation process includes these grape skins, red wine contains 10 times as many flavonoids as white wine.

As an interesting aside, a white wine such as champagne can be made with red grapes, but in this case the skins are removed before fermentation. The champagne grape is the red grape Pinot Noir.

This article was written by Colin Rose, a Senior Associate Member of the Royal Society of Medicine, who has been writing on science for 40 years.

Is red wine heart-healthy?

Wine flavonoids, especially resveratrol and quercetin, do have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. Studies show that flavonoids in general help protect the cardio-vascular system by reducing excess free radical damage to blood vessels.

Is drinking wine good for your health? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Red wine has also been found to increase the level of HDL cholesterol – the ‘good’ kind, which helps prevent artery damage.

A 2015 study in the American Society for Microbiology Journal showed that resveratrol alters gut probiotic flora in a way that reduces atherosclerosis and therefore heart attack risk.

In addition, both wine and alcohol in general, have been found to help keep the cells lining blood vessels (called the endothelium) dilated, leading to improved blood flow, which is heart-beneficial.

A 2008 European study found wine also helps raise the level of Omega 3 in the blood – yet another potential heart health benefit.

Is red wine brain-healthy?

Red wine may possibly even help slow down age-related mental decline. A team from Loyola University Medical Center, using long-term data from 19 nations, found a statistically significant lower risk of dementia among regular, moderate red wine drinkers.

Resveratrol, the investigators hypothesised, is key to this benefit. By helping reduce the stickiness of blood platelets, it helps keep the blood vessels open and flexible, and this promotes a good supply of blood to the brain.

While there are, therefore, quite a few studies that support the drinking of moderate amounts of wine, they are almost all observational studies from population groups and food diaries. This means they show a link or association, but not necessarily cause and effect.

For example, it could be that people who drink wine are generally better off and are more health conscious than average and it is the totality of their life-style that is producing the results.

The most comprehensive study on the benefits and negatives of wine was published in Circulation in 2017 – from which many of these conclusions are taken.

Alcohol calories are processed differently from other food calories

You often hear that “a calorie is a calorie” But recent research shows that is not true of alcohol.

A typical 175 ml (6 fluid ounce) of serving of wine contains 2 units of alcohol and is not, on its own, hugely calorific – about 144 calories. That’s about the same as a handful (28g/1oz) of nuts.

However, they are metabolised very differently. Alcohol is 90% metabolised in the liver because it contains no protein, fat or fibre and negligible vitamins and minerals. That’s why excess alcohol can lead to fatty liver – a build-up of fat and scarring in the liver called cirrhosis.

Effect of excess alcohol quickly overcomes health benefits

The health benefits of wine can easily be cancelled out by drinking too much.

In excess amounts – defined as over 2 units a day for men and 1 for women – it can increase blood pressure and cause organ damage, dependency, and brain damage. It also increases your risk of developing several types of cancers – including mouth and colon cancer and breast cancer in women.

How alcohol can lead to cancer has only recently been discovered – at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge.

When the body processes alcohol it creates a harmful chemical called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde can break and damage DNA sequences within blood stem cells. It is this damage that can trigger problems including cancer.

Is drinking wine good for your health? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
Damaged DNA strands

Excess alcohol can increase your risk of contracting infectious diseases, by weakening your immune system. It can also cause abnormal activation of digestive enzymes leading to pancreatitis.

Drinking also increases your heart rate and, as we have seen, widens blood vessels in your skin. This can trigger perspiration and night sweats, which are a sign you are drinking too much.

Keep to 14 units a week guideline and don’t binge-drink

In 2016 the UK Government issued new guidelines on alcohol consumption. It said:

“Drinking any level of alcohol regularly carries a health risk for anyone, but if men and women limit their intake to no more than 14 units a week it keeps the risk of illness like cancer and liver disease low.”

They also recommended at least 2-3 alcohol-free days a week and no days when you exceed 4 units – defined as binge drinking.

Or get flavonoids from grapes and berries

Finally, you don’t have to get your flavonoids from wine.

Resveratrol, which is a compound produced by some plants to fight off bacteria and fungi, is found in greater amounts in grapes, peanuts and berries than in wine.

Is drinking wine good for your health? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
Grapes contain resveratrol – eat skins and seeds, too

Summary – Red wine is healthy in moderation

There are many other things you can do for your health, rather than drink alcohol! But if you are going to drink, the research indicates that wine, and red wine in particular, is the best. But staying within that 14 unit a week limit is important.

Important, too, is the fact that you can get the flavonoids that make red wine, on balance, positive for health, from many other sources.  Numerous vegetables and berry fruits contain a variety of flavonoids – as do spices like curcumin and green tea.

There are also supplements that feature high levels of flavonoids including NutriShield.


Is drinking wine good for your health? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

This article was written by Colin Rose, a Senior Associate Member of the Royal Society of Medicine, who has been writing on science for 40 years.


It is one of a series on the top 20 questions people ask about health. They include the following, some of which are available NOW (check the link).

Is drinking wine good for your health? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
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Is drinking wine good for your health? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Dr Paul Clayton designed NutriShield as a comprehensive health supplement with OPTIMUM levels of essential nutrients. See more detail elsewhere on this site or click on the button.


Is drinking wine good for your health? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

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Read it here online or see the website www.healthdefence.com for excerpts and links to buy direct from the publisher.


Is drinking wine good for your health? NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

See online here for delicious recipes from the Health Defence Cookbook incorporating healthy foods featuring in a Mediterranean Diet.


References:

Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with better endothelial function: a cross sectional study: Keiko Suzuki, et al, BMC Cardiovascular Disorders volume 9, Article number: 8 (2009)

Wine and Cardiovascular Health; A Comprehensive Review; Sohaib Haseeb et al; Circulation Oct 2017

Resveratrol Attenuates Trimethylamine-N-Oxide (TMAO)-Induced Atherosclerosis by Regulating TMAO Synthesis and Bile Acid Metabolism via Remodeling of the Gut Microbiota; Ming-liang Chen, American Society of Microbiology; eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-12/cu-alw120408.php