Lifestyle

Have another glass of wine

Red wine has many health benefits, as well as the obvious positive mental effects. -Mikaela MacKenzie, THE WEAL

Red wine has many health benefits, as well as the obvious positive mental effects. -Mikaela MacKenzie, THE WEAL

The possible health benefits associated with red wine are of great interest to nutritionists and wine connoisseurs.

Jessica Begg, a registered dietitian and owner of Shift Nutrition in Calgary, said an antioxidant called resveratrol found in red wine is getting lots of attention.

“Red wine has been associated with being good for your heart,” Begg said.

Begg said more recent research has shown decreases in the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Resveratrol, found in red grapes, has been linked to decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, inflammation, plaque formation, and blood pressure.

The suggestion that red wine is good for you originated back in 1991 when CBC’s “60 Minutes” aired a segment called “The French Paradox.”

The show suggested that red wine might fight off heart disease.

In the following four weeks, red wine sales in the U.S. supermarkets increased by 44 per cent (or 2.6 million bottles) compared to the same period the previous year.

The effect of alcohol has shown to raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the good cholesterol, and reduce the formation of blood clots.

A study found on ScientificAmerica.com said that when mice were supplemented with this component and fed high caloric diets, they had fewer cardiovascular diseases as well as a longer lifespan than those who were not supplemented with it.

The flavonoids found in different pigments of the grape also act as antioxidants.

Flavonoid research shows a decrease of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL)—the bad cholesterol—inflammation, cancer, and diabetes.

The website also points out that melatonin, which is a naturally occurring compound found in the skin of grapes and increases as the grape ripens, contributes to overall health.

Melatonin helps regulate sleep patterns in healthy individuals and can help improve the quality of sleep.

The American Heart Association, however, does not recommend drinking alcohol to prevent health conditions.

“The benefits have been over-emphasized,” Begg said.

“Alcohol can be addictive and can cause or worsen health problems.”

She said individuals who don’t drink wine are not missing out on anything.

“Other foods like peanuts, blueberries, and cranberries have the same properties that are found in grapes.”

About 0.2 to 2.0 mg of resveratrol is found in each four-ounce glass of wine.

She said the suggested intake is up to one glass for women per day, or up to two glasses for men.

The amount of resveratrol in food and wine can vary widely, according to Begg.

All of the things it can help benefit can have the opposite effect by binging.

“By drinking too much alcohol and going anywhere beyond those recommendations it becomes a health risk,” said Begg.

Begg said people could put themselves at a risk of increasing cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression, and triglycerides, which is bad for heart and blood pressure.

“Drinking more doesn’t equal better health.”

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