If you’ve heard that red wine is one of the healthiest of all alcoholic beverages, then you're not alone.
Thanks to the antioxidants found in the skins of grapes from which it’s made, red wine has been widely publicised as being “healthful”. The kind of antioxidants found in red wine, like RESVERATROL, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Inflammation and oxidation are considered the root causes of most disease, so consuming antioxidant-rich foods is a key component in disease prevention.
Moderate consumption of red wine has been linked to improved heart health, along with other health benefits, like decreasing the risk of:
Some of the buzz around red wine’s health benefits comes from its prominent role in the well-studied Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet includes lots of fruit, vegetables, fish, olive oil, and red wine, and is believed to contribute to a long lifespan and low incidences of heart disease and cancer among Mediterranean populations.
The health benefits of red wine are also thought to contribute to low rates of heart disease among the French, despite this population traditionally eating a diet high in saturated fat - think cheese, cream, and buttery croissants!
So, how exactly does red wine supposedly improve heart health?
Some studies have linked regular consumption of red wine with the following positive outcomes:
High blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, and undesirable cholesterol and triglyceride levels are all contributing factors in the development of more serious heart disease, like heart attacks, and also the development of stroke risk.
However, all of the research showing that people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol have lower rates of heart disease is observational. Such studies can’t prove cause and effect, only associations.
That doesn’t mean we should all rush out there and start drinking red wine. In fact the following information may "sober up" your thinking. The benefits of resveratrol were studied on mice and there’s zero evidence of any benefit for people who take resveratrol supplements.
"A 2014 study of older adults living in the Chianti region of Italy, whose diets were naturally rich in resveratrol, found no link between resveratrol levels (measured by a breakdown product in urine samples) and rates of heart disease, cancer, or death. As for the Mediterranean diet, it’s impossible to know whether red wine is an important part of why that eating style helps reduce heart disease" - Dr. Kenneth Mukamal, an internist at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
So is red wine an essential part of a healthy diet?
The short answer is no. (Check out my Facebook post where I chatted about this)
So what should we do? Find a way to eat that works for us individually! And this is so important at menopause, as so many other factors come into play.
Plenty of other diet and lifestyle factors, like eating lots of fruits and vegetables, getting regular physical activity, not smoking, and managing stress can provide those same health benefits.
If you do drink, like with any other alcoholic beverage, it’s also important to remember to limit wine consumption. Moderate drinking — defined as one drink per day for healthy women and two drinks per day for healthy men — is widely considered safe. But to date, the health effects of alcohol have never been tested in a long-term, randomised trial.
When consumed in excess, any alcoholic beverage can negatively impact your health, contributing to alcohol dependence, organ damage, and increased risk of several cancers. And alcohol can increase the severity of menopausal symptoms, like hot flushes.
So to sum it all up:
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