Surprising New Benefit of Red Wine
Many of my patients enjoy an occasional glass of red wine. And I usually don’t discourage them. Red wine contains resveratrol and several other substances that boost heart health.
The key word to getting red wine’s benefits is “moderation.” Drinking a glass of wine a few times a week offers some amazing benefits. But if you drink more than a few glasses a week, you’ll quickly erase any gains.
And those gains can be big. In fact, a recent study suggests that some women may enjoy a surprising benefit from red wine. But before we get to this new information, here’s a quick review of some of red wine’s major benefits.
Heart health is probably the best-known benefit from drinking red wine. It’s called the “French paradox,” because the French eat a high amount of saturated fats, yet enjoy a low risk of heart trouble.
The French paradox has been studied for about 20 years. Most scientists now agree that several components in red wine, including resveratrol, work together to lower several risk factors. These include:
- Promoting clear arteries
- Providing antioxidants to fight free radical damage
- Support nitric oxide, which keeps arteries flexible
- Promote insulin sensitivity for blood sugar control1
But red wine provides several less-known benefits.
Take, for example, a new study from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. Researchers there followed close to 34,000 women for 10 years. They discovered that women who drank a moderate amount of red wine had a much lower risk of a common joint problem.
The cutoff appears to be 3 glasses of wine (or pints of beer) per week. Less than that didn’t provide any benefit. But women who drank 3 or more glasses a week had a 52% lower risk of this joint problem.2
Several studies have also found that moderate alcohol intake boosts sexual desire in women. In one study, women who had 11 – 20 drinks per month had the greatest desire levels and sexual satisfaction. 3
A couple of glasses of wine may also bring out the genius in you. A team at the University of Illinois discovered that people with moderate alcohol intake scored higher on a test of creative thinking.
The only drawback is the effect only lasts as long as the effects of the alcohol.4
But another “side effect” of red wine has lasting benefits.
Last year, Australian researchers discovered red wine may lower the risk of bone loss in men. The scientists looked at a group of adults ranging in age from 51 – 81. They found men who drank a moderate amount of red wine had greater bone density.5
Although the Australian team didn’t find a benefit for women, another study just did.
The study, completed at Oregon State University, looked at post-menopausal women. Women who drank a moderate amount of alcohol showed fewer signs of bone breakdown than women who didn’t drink. And when the drinkers gave up alcohol temporarily, their signs of bone breakdown went up.6
If you don’t drink, that’s fine. Alcohol can cause health problems and some people find it difficult to drink in moderation. So it’s not worth the risk.
However, if you do drink, red wine appears to be the healthiest choice for several reasons. And 3- 5 glasses of wine a week seems to provide the most benefit.
Yours in good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Lippi, G., et al, “Moderate red wine consumption and cardiovascular disease risk: beyond the “French paradox,” Semin Thromb Hemost. Feb 2010; 36(1): 59-70.
2 Adams, S., “Frequent tipple ‘halves arthritis risk,’” The Telegraph. Jul 2012.
3 Battaglia, C., et al, “Moderate alcohol intake, genital vascularization, and sexuality in young, healthy, eumenorrheic women. A pilot study,” J Sex Med. 2011; 8: 2334â€“2343.
4 Jarosz, A.F., et al, “Uncorking the muse: alcohol intoxication facilitates creative problem solving,” Conscious Cogn. Mar 2012; 21(1): 487-493.
5 Yin, J., et al, “Beverage-specific alcohol intake and bone loss in older men and women: a longitudinal study,” Eur J Clin Nutr. Apr 2011; 65(4): 526-532.
6 Marrone, J.A., et al, “Moderate alcohol intake lowers biochemical markers of bone turnover in postmenopausal women,” Menopause. Jul 9, 2012. Published online ahead of print.