Everyone is making New Year’s resolutions these days.
And I worry that sometimes we set ourselves up for failure.
So for your 2016 wine resolution, I’m keeping it simple:
Just add more.
Not because I think it’s fabulous, but because there may really be some beneficial medical reasons to having a daily glass of wine.
Now, the studies out there are few and far between so you have to take them all with a grain of salt, but even if there is remote evidence that wine improves your health, why not?
And we are not just talking red wine. White wine and Champagne (yay!) all have benefits. too.
We are talking moderate consumption.
Lets be clear here: by no means am I saying drink a bottle a night to good health. We are talking moderate consumption. And, according to the Dietary Guidelines for 2010 (because that’s the most recent and the 2015 ones are not available yet), moderate consumption is:
- One drink per day for women
- Two drinks per day for men
If you drink more than that, you can throw any benefits out the window and presume your risks for just about everything are higher, according the Department of Health and Human Services.
Resveratrol is the big reason for the win.
Much of the health perks of wine are thanks to resveratrol (rez-VEER-a-troll) – a compound found in some plants used to fight off bacteria.
The skins of red grapes have tons of resveratrol. So do blueberries, cranberries and nuts. You can just add those to your diet and get the same benefits. Drinking red wine in particular, because it is made with the skins of those red grapes, is just more fun.
Because studies have shown that resveratrol prevents damage to blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (a.k.a., the "bad" kind) and prevents blood clots.
The only problem is, most of the research on resveratrol has been done on animals, not people, notes the Mayo Clinic.
Again, grain of salt.
Drink more, remember more.
Another big perk to resveratrol is that it may protect against cell damage and prevent loss of memory as we age.
Thankfully, it's not just red wine that may help us remember things.
Champagne recently became a subject for a similar investigation because it’s also made with dark grapes like Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, as well.
And a study out of Reading University in the UK showed that Champagne had the same effect in preventing memory loss.
As a result, researchers recommended that people over 40 start drinking two to three glasses of champagne a week to prevent brain disorders, including dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Granted, it's one study. But it’s a darn great reason to open Champagne right now.
The fabulous flavonoids.
All those health perks could be thanks to the flavonoids found in wine and Champagne, too.
Flavonoids are antioxidants and can boost the immune system.
And the good news is that white wine has them, too.
A study from the University of Barcelona showed that white wines actually may have a higher antioxidant capacity than red wines and may also have ability to protect the heart against aging.
Hat tip to Chardonnay lovers everywhere.
But again, one study. Grain of salt.
It may prevent some cancers.
Researchers aren’t exactly sure how, but other antioxidants in red wine may kill cells in certain types of cancers, most often colon cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
And according to a joint study from Brock University and McMaster University in Ontario, “both red and white wines are able to inhibit lung cancer cell growth and oncogenic potential.”
You just need to drink a lot more white wine to get the same results.
Oh, and if you’re a smoker, don’t even think for a second that drinking wine will offset your bad habit.
Wine and weight loss.
There are a ton of experiments out there trying to connect wine and weight loss.
But again – on mice.
Fat mice were given extracts from Pinot Noir grapes and saw slower fat growth, according to the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
OK, but I drink so much Pinot Noir, I should look like Kate Moss if that were really true.
And I find I snack more when I drink. So there goes that idea.
But if you’re trying to watch your weight, white wine and Champagne do have fewer calories than your big reds.
So while much of this stuff is still in the testing stage, there are plenty of doctors out there already recommending a glass or two a day to reap some health benefits.
And if it finally helps you remember your wedding anniversary, that’s an additional perk.