So you've heard of the benefits of wine, in particular red wine, but what would your doctor say?
I was joined by friend Justin Samra after a long day in the ER and over a glass of wine we started discussing the true benefits of red wine.
See below for our brief video segment and key points summed right after.
In summary, red wine is best known for its stress relieving and heart healthy properties when consumed in responsible and moderate amounts. It has been known to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, reduce cholesterol, prevent growth blood clots and reduce cell damage from free radicals.
The science elucidating exactly how the wondrous red wine produces its effect is still in progress, although some standout compounds such as procyanidins contained in its tannins (note: tannins give red wine its color) and resveratrol have been implicated.
Some studies also show that red wine may even reduce the growth of new fat cells due to ellagic acids it contains. So cheers to that glass of wine helping you stay skinny! And to note, while white wine may also have some health benefits it contains about 5-10 times less phenols than red wine.
So when do the benefits of red wine begin to give way to negative side effects?
In a nut shell, a person should only aim to ingest about 4-8 ounces of wine per day, with woman leaning toward the lower end (sorry ladies!) for maximum health benefits. This health benefit is compared with those who do not drink at all, which is important to note.
Another important fact to remember is that these benefits do not extend to what is known as “binge drinking”. Commonly misunderstood, binge drinking is not just about drinking copious amounts of alcohol on a frequently occurring basis, it also extends to those people who “save it up for the weekend” and then let loose drinking into excess.
The medical benefits tend to drop off sharply when a person begins to ingest more than 8 oz in a single day. Aside from perceived mental stress relief from alcohol, after 8 oz you are most likely doing more harm than good.
What happens if I go over this limit?
Take for example the chemical compound resveratrol mentioned above.
Research conducted on lab mice showed that wound healing was significantly slowed and in some cases the wounds got larger with time after administration of resveratrol. While these studies are still in progress to some degree, if you want to heal faster it's best to leave alcohol alone for the time being.
By extension, it is safe to say, that the age-old truth about alcohol alongside exercise will not yield the same end results as refraining from alcohol during training. But like with anything in life there is a balance.
As mentioned above, if you are going to go overboard those 8 0z, you are doing yourself harm, but some research suggests that compared to other alcoholic beverages, red wine may be doing slightly less harm if you do go ahead and indulge.
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As always, stay informed and be healthy!
Shay N, Okla M, Kang I, Kim DM, Gourineni V, and Chung S. Ellagic acid modeulates lipid accumulation in primary human adipocytes and human hepatoma Huh7 cells via discrete mechanisms. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 2015. Link