Red wine has been shown to have numerous health benefits. Of course, these health benefits only apply to people who drink red wine in moderation. The positive effects of red wine are attributed to resveratrol, a natural antioxidant that’s abundant in the skin of red grapes.
If you’re diabetic, you may actually benefit from drinking a glass of red wine every day. A new study showed that diabetic people who regularly drink a glass of red wine experienced a slight yet statistically meaningful reduction in the presence of plaque in their carotid arteries.
Learn more about this surprising health benefit of red wine.
Red Wine Reduces Carotid Plaque Build-Up
In a recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers examined the effects of moderate consumption of wine on the build-up of plaque in the carotid artery of 224 people with type 2 diabetes.
At the start of the study, 45% of the participants had a significantly detectable amount of plaque in their carotid artery. The 224 participants were told to drink either water or 1 glass of red or white wine every day. Furthermore, the participants were instructed to follow a Mediterranean diet.
At the end of the 2-year study period, the researchers found that the carotid plaque build-up did not increase as compared to their baseline levels. In addition, among the participants who had higher plaque build up at baseline, those who were assigned to drink wine showed a significantly reduced plaque volume.
The results indicate that among people who do have a low tendency for alcohol abuse, moderate alcohol consumption coupled with a healthy diet may reduce the risks of cardiometabolic conditions.
Cardiometabolic risk factors are strongly associated with higher chances of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Such risk factors include arterial plaque buildup or atherosclerosis, high cholesterol levels, hypertension, and high blood sugar levels. Lifestyle risk factors include smoking, poor diet, and poor exercise habits.
With regard to improving the health of your blood vessels, previous studies have also shown that the procyanidin content of red wine can help keep your blood vessels healthy. Procyanidins are powerful antioxidants that can greatly benefit your cardiovascular health. If you’re concerned about drinking alcohol, even non-alcoholic red wine contains procyanidins.
The combination of a Mediterranean diet and a moderate consumption of red wine has long been known to have protective effects on cardiovascular health. A diet that largely consists of plant-based foods can give you a lot of antioxidants, on top of the usual vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables.
When you combine that with the antioxidants that you get from red wine, then you can expect to reap a lot of health benefits. It goes without saying, however, that if you drink red wine excessively, then all the benefits you get from the healthful food that you eat will be negated.
Other Health Benefits of Red Wine
Both red wine and resveratrol have been the subject of various scientific studies, and both have been shown to have positive health effects. Of course, that’s in the context of drinking red wine in moderation.
Some of the documented health benefits of red wine include enhancing your gut microbiome, improving your cardiovascular health, and reducing your blood pressure. Red wine has also been shown to have protective effects on the brain after a stroke.
Other health benefits associated with the resveratrol content of red wine include prevention of vision loss and protection against various types of cancer. Studies have shown that resveratrol can help control the overgrowth of blood vessels in the eye.
When blood vessels in the eye grow uncontrollably, it can lead to diabetic retinopathy as well as macular degeneration. Both these eye conditions are among the top causes of blindness in the United States.
Aside from protecting your eye health, resveratrol has also been shown to have protective effects against several types of cancer including colon cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.
For those with colon cancer, drinking red wine in moderation or taking resveratrol supplements may help reduce the size of bowel tumors. For women with breast cancer, alcohol is not recommended because it can cause an increase in estrogen levels, which then results in the growth of cancer.
However, red wine contains compounds that act as aromatase inhibitors. These compounds basically prevent the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. These aromatase inhibitors are actually found on the skin of red grapes. Hence, instead of drinking red wine, you can also simply increase your consumption of red grapes.
For men who are at risk of developing prostate cancer, drinking red wine in moderate amounts can greatly lower your chances of being diagnosed with cancer of the prostate gland. Even drinking just a glass of red wine every week can already lower your risks of prostate cancer by at least 6%.
For those who are not comfortable with the idea of having to consume an alcoholic drink just to gain the benefits of resveratrol, there are numerous resveratrol-containing supplements available on the market today.
Resveratrol supplements or grape seed extract supplements enriched with resveratrol can help lower your low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol levels. And because resveratrol is a potent antioxidant, resveratrol supplements can also reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. When LDL cholesterol is oxidized, it can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries.
Both red wine and resveratrol supplements can also help lower your risks of Alzheimer’s disease. This may be due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of resveratrol. Moreover, resveratrol can help suppress the formation of beta-amyloid in the brain. Beta-amyloids cause brain degeneration leading to Alzheimer’s disease.
For people with diabetes, red grapes are highly recommended because resveratrol is able to increase insulin sensitivity. In addition, resveratrol can help prevent the conversion of glucose into sorbitol, which can cause oxidative stress damage.
Resveratrol may also help protect you against cartilage damage, a condition that’s common among people with arthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of resveratrol are also helpful in reducing arthritis-related inflammations as well as in preventing damage to joints caused by arthritis.
Red wine also contains other antioxidants like proanthocyanidins, epicatechins, and catechins. Tannins, which basically affect the wine’s dryness and astringency, are also called polyphenols, which are also antioxidants. All these different kinds of antioxidants contribute to the numerous health benefits associated with red wine.