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What Are the Health Benefits of Drinking Wine?

by Chris Russell, Contributor

For nearly as long as humans have been making and drinking wine, it has been considered to have medicinal properties. In ancient Rome, Pliny the Elder wrote of the anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties of wine, while in ancient Egypt, wines were a critical component of many medicines. More recently, scientific studies have uncovered some of the remarkable health benefits of moderate wine consumption, giving us valuable insight into how wine can be an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.

According to Asclepiades, the virtues possessed by wine are hardly equaled by the majestic attributes of the gods themselves.Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia

Cardiovascular Health

Wine, particularly red wine, has been linked to multiple cardiovascular benefits. Perhaps most importantly, moderate wine consumption has been shown to increase levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol in the blood while simultaneously reducing levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Red wine also possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticoagulant properties, all of which help protect the arteries and fight against heart disease. Additionally, numerous studies have shown resveratrol, an antioxidant polyphenol found naturally in red wine, reduces blood pressure. These individual benefits combine to an impressive result: consumption of one to two glasses of wine per day is associated with a whopping 30–50-percent reduction in the overall risk of developing heart disease.

Kidney Health

The benefits of moderate wine consumption don’t begin and end with your heart, however. A recent study at Johns Hopkins University found moderate consumption—a glass or two of wine per day—was associated with a 29-percent lower risk of chronic kidney disease.

Neurological Benefits

Moderate wine consumption appears to be protective against Alzheimer’s disease.
Korean researchers, meanwhile, found moderate wine consumption appears to be protective against Alzheimer’s disease, reducing the formation of beta amyloid deposits in the brain by up to 66 percent.

Lung Health

Additionally, scientists in Sweden and the UK found an improvement in lung health with moderate consumption of alcohol, reducing the incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by up to 20 percent.

Microbiome Diversity

Recently, red wine has been linked to a more diverse gut microbiome, a positive indicator of overall digestive system health. Observational studies also suggest moderate alcohol consumption may ward off H. pylori infection, a bacterium associated with ulcers and stomach cancer.

Anti-Cancer Benefits

Found in abundance in red wine, resveratrol is even being explored as a potentially powerful anticancer agent.

Mental Health

Spanish researchers discovered those who who drink two to seven glasses of wine a week suffered from depression less frequently than teetotalers. Later studies indicate that resveratrol, the above-mentioned polyphenol found abundantly in red wine, may have anti-stress and antidepressant-like properties.

What It Means

In many cases, scientists and medical researchers aren’t exactly sure how wine bestows its apparent health benefits. In many cases, antioxidants like resveratrol are thought to play a role. In others, the alcohol content of wine itself seems to be the source of the benefits. Further discoveries and debate no doubt await, but in the meantime, most agree: moderate consumption of wine is safe and can be a part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

On Moderation

Nearly all studies that revealed a benefit to wine consumption found them in moderate consumption—typically no more than two glasses of wine a day for women and three for men. Excessive consumption of alcohol is indeed linked to a range of negative health consequences. As with most things in life, wine is best enjoyed in moderation.

Learn More

This is a complex topic with ongoing scientific research, but we hope you’ve enjoyed this exploration of some of the health benefits of moderate wine consumption. If you’d like to learn more about making and enjoying wine, find out the latest happenings at 2Hawk, and keep apprised of our latest offerings, subscribe to our newsletter. Do you have any questions about our wines, our vineyard, or the winemaking process? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Please comment below or reach out to us directly via our Contact page.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to know more about our Rogue Valley wines, here are a few ways:

  1. Have you ever wondered how winemakers select their barrels? If so, take a gander at last month’s post, Do a Barrel Roll: How 2Hawk Chooses & Uses Oak Barrels.
  2. Visit the tasting room to sample our current wines.
  3. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with the latest happenings.

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