Most of us have an inkling that red wine is good for heart disease. Maybe even for the brain. But what does red wine really do for us?
First of all, no discussion on the benefits of red wine on heart disease would be appropriate until we discuss volume. Moderate wine drinking in the medical literature is considered a 1/2 bottle per day. Most are very happy to hear this (and no–this “average” does not likely include nothing on Mon-Wed and a full bottle the rest of the week to make up for the shortfall).
The medical research has documented multiple health benefits of red wine. These may include:
- Protecting against an enlarged heart
- Lowers inflammation
- Helps to lower the risk of prediabetes and diabetes
Basically, the polyphenol resveratrol found in red wine (also found in the grapes and peanut skins) is believed to act on a family of genes called the Sirtuin family of genes. These genes are responsible for longevity and good health, so anything that positively affects these genes is a good thing. Calorie restriction without nutrient restriction has the same effect.
This particular study gives us some additional insight into some less well known benefits.
Having a healthy bacterial flora in our gut is absolutely essential for good health. Those that state that death begins in the colon may not be too far off.
Researchers found that red wine actually improved the number of Bifidobacteria in the gut of the participants in this study. Additional benefits noted include:
- Blood pressure decreased
- Triglyceride and total cholesterol levels decreased
- HDL cholesterol levels increased
- C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) decreased
Interestingly, changes in cholesterol and C-reactive protein concentrations were linked to changes in the number of bifidobacteria in the gut. This just goes to show how complex our bodies are in how each system interacts with every other system. Lifestyle changes are not geared towards improving a single target (like blood pressure or cholesterol), but rather gear towards improving every parameter as it relates to health.
As if this wasn’t good enough news, keep in mind that adding a square of dark chocolate with your evening wine may go even further towards protecting your heart and your health…
What do you eat with your red wine?