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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Found in abundance in red wine, resveratrol is even being explored as a potentially powerful anticancer agent.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- Visit the tasting room to sample our current wines.
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