One of the best ways to unwind from a long day at work is with a glass of red wine. What you may not know is that that same glass of red wine has a number of other health benefits to go with it. As with anything, moderation is key, but many experts and doctors are beginning to agree that having a glass of red wine in the evening is good for more than just relaxing. Here are three of the many ways that red wine will improve your health.
1. Lowering Your Cholesterol
A study done by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain has recently revealed that the Tempranillo red grapes found in several different types of red wine might have a profound impact on your cholesterol levels.
The study focused on the LDL cholesterol levels, which is the bad type of cholesterol. When these levels are too high, the cholesterol (a type of fat molecule) gets deposited on the walls of your arteries and begins to from a plaque which then causes your arteries to become stiff and in turn increases blood pressure and your risk of having a heart attack.
However, participants in the study who already had normal cholesterol levels saw a 9% decrease in their LDL levels, and those who had high cholesterol levels at the start of the study saw it drop by 12%. If you do have high cholesterol, now is the perfect time to start drinking a glass of red wine every evening.
2. Heart Health
Lowering bad cholesterol levels isn’t the only way that the polyphenols found in red wine can help improve your heart health. They also can improve your blood flow by lowering your clotting factors, and will help improve the flexibility of your blood vessels which also improves blood flow and lowers your risk of heart disease.
Image credit: flickr/judy van der velden
John Folts, PhD is a professor at the University of Wisconson-Madison who teaches nutrition and cardiovascular medicine. He claims that the polyphenols in red wine are “nearly as effective as aspirin.” If you have been prescribed aspirin to help thin your blood to reduce your risk of heart disease, consider talking to your doctor about trying red wine instead for a more natural way to get what you need.
3. Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
In the skin of red grapes, there is a compound known as reservatrol. Research has revealed that reservatrol might help regulate blood sugar in people with diabetes. A study that was published in Nutrition followed diabetic participants, some of which were taking daily reservatrol supplements. Those that were taking the supplements had notably lower blood sugar levels compared to the control group which was not taking anything.
Additionally, those who took the reservatrol supplements also had lower blood pressure and cholesterol. The researchers believe that reservatrol might work to stimulate the secretion of insulin or could directly help regulate both glucose levels and insulin sensitivity. While many people believe that controlling your blood sugar is only important to diabetics, there are many health concerns that come for anyone that isn’t careful about maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
4. Boost your brain
Resveratrol may also be the key to keeping your memory sharp, says Philippe Marambaud, PhD, a senior research scientist at New York’s Litwin-Zucker Research Center for the Study of Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders. The compound has been shown to hamper the formation of beta-amyloid protein, a key ingredient in the plaque found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. Marambaud suggests flexing your noodle by doing crossword puzzles and brain teasers for an hour then cooling down with a glass of wine. New to brain teasers? We’ve got you covered with 7 Brain Games That Make You Smarter.
5. Fight off a cold
If you hate getting sick (and who doesn’t?), the antioxidants in red wine may help keep you healthy. A 2010 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that among 4,000 faculty members at five Spanish universities, those who drank more than 14 weekly glasses of wine for a year were 40% less likely to come down with a common cold. Why? According to the National Institutes of Health, antioxidants are believed to fight infection and protect cells against the effects of free radicals, which may play role in cancer and other diseases.
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