5 Healthy Reasons to Drink Wine

wine

As if you needed an excuse to toss back a glass of Cab on Saturday night, wine happens to be pretty darn good for you. And we’re not just talking stress relief, either. A large body of research links the ancient drink of choice to everything from cancer prevention to improved immunity, and even weight loss — yep, not only will your vino habit not sabotage slim down, it could actually help you drop pounds!

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To be fair, wine’s magical health benefits can quickly turn to risks if you over-imbibe, so we’re talking a serving per day here, people, not the whole bottle. Ready to raise a glass to, well, your glass? Here are 5 awesome reasons to buy a bottle of red, adapted from The 5 Skinny Habits by Dave Zulberg.

It’s good for your heart. Many modern studies have shown that moderate wine consumption may reduce the risk of heart disease. This health discovery became famous when studies showed that the French people have one of the lowest heart attack rates in the world. The phenomenon was attributed to the regular consumption of red wine by the French and became known as the “French paradox.” Harvard researchers included moderate alcohol consumption as one of the “eight proven ways to reduce coronary heart disease risk.” Researchers believe the antioxidants in the skin and seeds of red grapes, called flavonoids, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, and reducing blood clotting.

It can ward off disease. Resveratrol, which is found in the skin of red grapes, may help those with diabetes regulate their blood sugar and achieve lower blood glucose levels. Additionally, researchers have found that men who drink an average of four to seven glasses of red wine per week are less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Another study indicated that resveratrol may be helpful in treating neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and other recent research in the New England Journal of Medicine showed a boost in brainpower for women who enjoy a drink a day.

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It can prevent the common cold. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that the antioxidantsin red wine may also prevent the common cold. Researchers investigated the alcohol-drinking habits of 4,272 faculty and staff of five Spanish universities. Consumption of wine — especially red wine — was associated with a low risk of contracting the common cold.

It can help you slim down. Wine is usually viewed as “forbidden fruit” on a weight-loss or maintenance program. However, research at Purdue University — published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry — does not agree. It found that the compound piceatannol, which is converted from resveratrol, could help control obesity. It blocks insulin’s ability to activate genes that carry out further stages of fat cell formation. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that women who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol were less likely to gain weight in middle age.

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