Alcoholic drinks are rightly not considered to be healthy drinks, but a single type breaks that trend. As outlined in a recent BBC analysis, red wine is one of the only alcoholic drinks that can provide health benefits across the board. However, as with all alcoholic drinks, these benefits, which include helping the heart stay healthy, can only be gained when consumed in moderation. Understanding how wine in particular benefits the body will help you make the wise decision to have a glass every now and then for the sake of your health — and enjoyment!
Staying in moderation
Wine is healthy in smaller portions because of the presence of resveratrol and HDL cholesterol. According to The Mayo Clinic, these two compounds safeguard against heart disease and reduce the risk of inflammation in blood vessels, which offers more protection against heart disease. Red wine is the only alcoholic drink to contain these compounds in naturally occurring levels. However, all of this good work can be easily unbalanced by excessive alcohol intake, as alcohol can have a detrimental impact on vascular health. How can you achieve this? Look for smaller portions of wine, such as from small bottles, bars, or even from a canned wine. In fact, the smaller portion wine sector continues to grow and provides many refreshing and healthier portion sizes, which is a much healthier option than drinking huge glasses of full-bodied vintage.
Making the most
With these compounds available to you, it falls to your diet and habits to make the most of them. Consider the findings made in this study published in the Journal of Biomedicines; resveratrol has a range of positive effects but is contained in wine in relatively low amounts. This doesn’t mean that it can’t be of benefit, but it does mean that you won’t benefit from excessive amounts of wine – especially when considering the level of alcohol you’ll be imbibing and the effect that has. Choose good quality, organic wines, that have high levels of natural compounds that can lend themselves to high levels of resveratrol.
The relaxation factor
Aside from the health benefits of the compounds in wine, it’s important to think of the relaxation factor it can offer. Aside from the depressant effect of alcohol, which can relax many people, there’s a psychological element; a favoured drink can be associated with relaxation and an evening’s rest, or the post-meal lull in which relaxation is king. An influential 1985 study published in the Journal of Alcohol and Drug Dependency found a clear link between moderate, well restrained drinking and psychological health. When using wine as your drink of choice, you can have the double benefit of a relaxing drink and the helpful compounds within.
Alcohol is not good for anyone, and multiple studies have shown this. However, alcoholic drinks can, in moderation, offset the impact of alcohol with the benefits that the rest of the drink provides. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in wine, which combines beneficial compounds with a psychological link to relaxation.
About the author
Isabella Lovett is health writer who has battled anxiety, OCD and clinical depression all her life. As part of her writing she has researched how people can manage their stress both in the short and long term, for a better, healthier way of life.