Drink Red Wine For Your Health
It’s well documented that people who adhere to a Mediterranean diet enjoy significantly lower risks of numerous diseases and conditions that are common in the West. Even more telling; in recent years, many young people in the region have shifted to eating a more westernized diet, which features processed foods, lots of carbohydrates and sugar, and less monounsaturated fat from plants like olives. Alarmingly, these kids and adolescents are starting to develop diseases that until recently were uncommon in the region.
Clearly the traditional Mediterranean diet is healthful, while a more American-style diet is not, particularly. So it makes sense to examine the diet more closely. Wine is an integral component of the Mediterranean diet, and it’s no mere coincidence that some of the world’s best wine has traditionally been produced in the region.
The overall dietary pattern is thought to be responsible for health benefits ranging from lower risks of heart disease and diabetes, to a reduced risk of developing cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. But today I’m going to address a specific component: red wine.
Alcohol in moderation is a traditional part of the Mediterranean diet. For the most part, it takes the form of red wine. Wine contains beneficial compounds called polyphenols. Of these, resveratrol is the best known. In the past decade or so, resveratrol has received a lot of attention, especially after researchers reported early experiments, which suggested it might extend lifespan dramatically.
Of course, living to 150 isn’t quite as simple as popping supplemental resveratrol. But it’s still thought to be one of several polyphenol compounds in red wine that may contribute to wine’s health benefits, beyond cardiovascular benefits attributable to alcohol alone. Among other potential benefits, recent research suggests that resveratrol may work with other plant chemicals (which are abundant in the Mediterranean diet) to fight colon cancer. This adds to mounting
Evidence shows that red wine polyphenols may be protective against diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and several types of cancer.
Aleixandre JL1, Aleixandre-Tudó JL, Bolaños-Pizzaro M, Aleixandre-Benavent R. Mapping the scientific research on wine and health (2001-2011). J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Dec 11;61(49):11871-80. doi: 10.1021/jf404394e. Epub 2013 Nov 27.
Naska A1, Trichopoulou A2. Back to the future: The Mediterranean diet paradigm. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Dec 16. pii: S0939-4753(13)00302-5. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2013.11.007. [Epub ahead of print]