Red Wine: Health Benefits

 “Red, red wine, stay close to me....” crooned British reggae group UB40 in their ode to celebration. Whether you’re a music lover or a wine lover, this one’s surely a favourite!

To make wine, grapes are crushed whole and the skins are fermented along with the juice and the body of the grape. This is what gives red wine its distinct colour, and the presence of tannins gives it the deep flavour and body. The alcohol produced during the fermentation process dissolves the antioxidant compounds found in the seeds and skins of grapes.

Much to the delight of wine lovers, this drink has several health benefits. Red wine contains antioxidant compounds, called polyphenols, and essential minerals and vitamins. These chemical compounds are generally found in the skin of grapes. Studies have shown that the antioxidants have a positive effect on the physiological functions of the body. The presence of the polyphenols curbs the growth of bacteria that are known to cause digestive problems and can result in diseases like diarrhoea and stomach ulcers. These minerals andenzymes protect the cells in the body from damage. And here’s an added advantage: since red wine helps with digestion; moderate consumption can actually contribute to weight loss!

There are several other health benefits of drinking red wine in moderation: 

•    It helps regulate cholesterol levels in the blood.
•    Consumption of wine helps prevent plaque formation, and helps protect against cardiovascular diseases.
•    The antioxidant compounds in red wine can help prevent cancer formation by working to neutralise free radicals in the body.
•    When consumed in moderation, red wine can help one sleep better.    
•    It aids digestion, especially red meat.

Studies have revealed that red wine is packed with anti-diabetic compounds as well. Resveratol, a chemical found in red wine, has the ability to lower blood sugar levels. Polyphenols can help control glucose levels in the body and prevent potential dangerous dips in blood sugar levels. 

The research on red wine and cancer is in its initial stages, but studies have shown that resveratrol can help prevent cancer. It also helps prevent DNA mutations that could lead to cancer, prohibiting new blood cells from encouraging the growth of cancer.

Red wine is also popularly known for its protective properties against heart disease. It helps prevent blood clots and reduces the damage to the blood vessels which are caused by fat deposits. It is known to reduce the likelihood of heart attack and lowers the risk of heart disease. 

The benefits of red wine can only be recognised when consumed in a limited quantity, that is, one glass a day for women, and two glasses a day for men. 
With moderate consumption of red wine proven to have a range of benefits, wine lovers can pick up a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or Merlot to stay in the pink of health!     

- Pallavi