The next time you pour yourself a glass of wine, you can feel good about the health benefits in that 5 ounces. Research has revealed that when consumed in moderation, wine can be good for your physical well-being.
“The key to deriving any health benefits from wine is moderation,” says Vivian Tran, MD, an internal medicine physician at Scripps Clinic, Mission Valley. “Too much alcohol will have harmful effects on your body, and if there is a history of alcohol abuse in your family, be wary of any drinking.”
Dietary guidelines for Americans define moderate drinking as one 5-ounce glass per day for women and two 5-ounce glasses per day for men. Check with your doctor for advice on your unique personal and family history.
Raise your one glass and consider these five ways wine helps your health:
Evidence-based studies over the past 50 years have consistently found that moderate drinking is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease.
“The exact mechanism is unknown, but it is hypothesized that through its HDL (good cholesterol) elevation, combined with its antithrombotic effects that reduce the formation of blood clots, moderate alcohol consumption can lower risk of coronary heart disease,” says Dr. Tran.
In addition, an occasional glass of wine may help you relax and relieve stress — a significant risk factor for heart disease.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, moderate alcohol drinkers are less likely to be obese than those who abstain, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health. A 5-ounce glass of wine has 120 to 150 calories, so remember to add that to your daily calorie count.
Based on the Framingham Heart Study, alcohol can protect against atherosclerosis, a condition where fatty deposits clog arteries. Alcohol may lower levels of lipoprotein, the particles that transport cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood stream — raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, and inhibiting low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) oxidation.
In the United States, it has been shown that light to moderate wine consumption can lower risk of ischemic stroke, which occurs when blood vessels to the brain become narrowed or clogged due to plaque.
Alcohol consumption does not lower risk for hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel ruptures. The data showed the biggest difference in ages 60-69 years. Conversely, heavy alcohol consumption can actually increase risk of ischemic stroke, so it is important to drink only in moderation.
While you shouldn’t stop taking your vitamins, flavonoids in wine can help you ward off colds and viruses. The antioxidants are thought to absorb the harmful chemicals naturally produced by the body.
So relax and toast to your health with a glass. Your body and mind will thank you.