Why drinking red wine makes you live longer
If you read our previous post about 5 health myths you probably believe, this is not one of them. Red wine can really boast of many health benefits including making you live longer. That’s not all; a key component of the skin and seeds in grapes used in making red wine has made it a popular preventative drug for conditions such as heart disease and obesity. Red wine is also responsible for the new craze for crazy celebrities, having a red wine bath, a concept known as vinotherapy.
The Secret ingredient
Red wine contains a plant extract known as resveratrol which belongs to a family of antioxidants known collectively as polyphenols. Polyphenols include Stilbenoids, Anthocyanins, Isoflavone phytoestrogens and Flavonoids all of which are found naturally in plants. Resveratrol belongs to the Stilbenoids family of polyphenols. Whiles various fruits, vegetables and beverages contain some type of anti-oxidant, resveratrol, found in the seed of grapes used in making red wine has significantly higher concentrations than the average quantity of anti-oxidants found in everyday food items such as apples, berries, orange and beans. The amount is about 10 times more than is found in vitamin C and about 100 times more than in vitamin E and carotenoids. The resveratrol in red wine has made it popular within the scientific community and research is ongoing to investigate the health benefits. Other natural anti-oxidants present in the grape seed have marked it as a good source of anti-inflammatory and anti-platelets compounds.
The anti-oxidant properties of red wine come from crushing of the seed and skin during the winery process which means maximum extraction of the nutrients is achieved. Oxidation, a process which contributes to aging and underlies diseases such as cancer and heart disease is caused by the production of free radicals. The action of free radicals can be inhibited by antioxidants thereby preventing cell damage, prolonging ones life and saving the day.
You’re probably wondering why not just eat a bunch of grapes or drink grape juice rather than drinking red wine. The answer is simple; It doesn’t really work like that!. Mainly because there are varying degrees of effectiveness from whole grapes, grape juice or red wine. Nonetheless, some research suggests that whole grapes deliver the same amount of antioxidants that are in grape juice and wine but have the added benefit of providing dietary fiber. However let’s not forget that eating whole grapes (usually seedless) does not including the process of crushing grape seeds which release those amazing anti-oxidants. If that argument is not sound enough to you then I ask; Why eat a grape when you can have a glass of wine to the same effect? because we all know grapes are nowhere near as relaxing.
Other health benefits
Several articles have suggested other health benefits of drinking red wine including ease of child birth, reduced risk of mental illness, prevention of tooth decay, weight loss and lower cholesterol to name but a few. The health benefits of resveratrol in red wine however remains controversial as other scientists have disproved its health benefits and reckon the effect is exaggerated. The British Heart Foundation is now carrying out its own resveratrol study to assess the impact on health.
An example of the French
With that been said, the French are notoriously known for enjoying their Red wine and how many overweight French people have you come across? Despite the croissants, bread rolls, butter, frog legs and all the fat rich French diets, the French people arguably get away with staying slim and healthy. In 1991 a French researcher, Serge Renaud reported an observation about the health and eating habits of the French people which is now popularly known as the French paradox. The French paradox basically observed that despite the high saturated fat content in the rich French diet, they have a relatively low incident of coronary heart disease. Serge Renaud is popular for attributing this observation to red wine which is a regular accompaniment with French meals. He made this claim on an American TV show as the reason why despite Americans and French having high fat diets, the French are generally healthier. As expected, there was sharp rise in the sale of red wine after that program was aired.
Now before you replace your ‘sobolo’ with red wine, and like the Americans in 1991 rush out to stock up on red wine, remember it’s alcohol and no one’s perfect, even a glass of red wine.