Are you a closet wino? Then you’ll be glad to know that moderate wine drinking is a healthy habit, and more and more benefits are being discovered all the time. Read through this list to find out why you shouldn’t feel guilty about indulging in a generous glass of merlot (or your wine of choice) in the evenings.
1. It’s good for your heart.
You’ve probably heard this before. But chances are, you aren’t quite sure how that is. Well, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that, in a study of over 11,000 men with high blood pressure, moderate wine drinkers enjoyed a 30% reduced risk of heart attack than nondrinkers did. Another study by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, spanned over 2,000 participants and 24 to 25 years; it found that drinking up to seven drinks per week saw a 20% lower risk of heart failure in men and 16% in women. The Yale-New Haven Hospital also outlines the benefits of the antioxidants in red wine as such:
Scientists believe the antioxidants, called flavonoids, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in three ways:
- by reducing production of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (also know as the “bad” cholesterol)
- by boosting high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the good cholesterol)
- by reducing blood clotting. Furthermore, consuming a glass of wine along with a meal may favorably influence your lipid profiles following that meal
2. You’ll feel younger and live longer.
Some red wines contain a natural compound called resveratrol, which is thought to protect your body’s tissues from the effects of aging. A study on mice by scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that those dosed with resveratrol were more agile than their counterparts. Another study at the University of London found that another type of compound often found in red wine, procyanidin, helps keep your blood vessels healthy and extend your life span.
3. It staves off the common cold.
Surprise! Drinking wine makes you less likely to catch that cold that’s going around. At least, that’s what findings from a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology imply. The study was conducted by Spanish scientists, and participants who drank alcohol were found to have a reduced risk of getting the common cold than those who didn’t, a risk that was even more greatly reduced if the alcohol of choice was red wine. As the folks at the BBC put it, “Experts at five universities found that people who drank more than two glasses of red wine a day had 44% fewer colds than teetotallers. Drinking one glass of red wine a day also protected against colds, but to a lesser extent.” Note, though, that nothing indicates that drinking wine while you already have a cold will help, so don’t go chugging down that Pinot Noir just because you’ve started sniffling.
4. It lowers your risk of stroke.
We’ve been hearing about too many people cut down by stroke in the prime of their lives these days. One thing you can do to avoid suffering the same is drink more wine. The Copenhagen City Heart Study published by the American Heart Association in 1998 found that wine drinkers experienced a significant decrease in risk of stroke when compared to people who never or hardly ever drank wine.
5. You’ll keep your brain sharp.
You may have heard that alcohol kills your brain cells, but studies have shown that, when it comes to red wine, at least, this is may not be the case after all. Resveratrol (yes, that compound again) has been found to improve short-term recall and maintain connections between the brain areas that are involved in memory functions, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2014.
6. It keeps your eyes clear.
Moderate red wine drinkers may enjoy yet another benefit: a reduced risk of getting cataracts. Findings in the Reykjavik Eye Study, which included over 800 participants and was conducted over a five-year period, suggested that those who drank between two or three glasses per month and two to three per day reduced their risk of developing cataracts by half.
7. It holds depression at bay.
Wine can also benefit your mental health. A study by Spanish researchers whose findings were published in BMC Medicine found that drinking two to seven glasses of wine each week resulted in significantly lower chances of being diagnosed with depression. This study was conducted over seven years and spanned over 5,000 participants.
What are you waiting for? Pick up a bottle of vino and share it with your guy tonight! It’ll loosen you up and help you put the stresses of the work week aside, and it might just make you mellow enough for a little nookie time—and that’s besides all the health benefits we’ve already identified.