On occasion, I pop open a bottle of red, particularly after a long, trying day. And while sipping on my glass of luscious wine, I often find myself thinking whether there's any harm in doing this shortly before my bedtime. Overall, I consider myself to live a healthy lifestyle - I eat well and exercise often, and so I wonder if I am negating my efforts in drinking a glass. Recently, I came across a study that shed some interesting light on how a small amount of wine before bed can actually benefit your body. Let's take a look:
A new study shows that drinking wine before bed could help you lose weight.
If you are looking to shed a few pounds, science says that some nighttime wine may be the solution. According to a study conducted at the Washington State University in July 2015, wine and weight loss go hand in hand - thanks to a substance called resveratrol (a wonder ingredient that contributes to the many benefits of wine). This compound, found in red wine, converts 'white fat' (a type of body tissue) into 'brown fat'. Research has found that white fat ups the risk for heart disease, diabetes and other health problems. Brown fat, on the other hand, is considered healthy since it actually helps us burn calories, sucking the white fat out of the rest of the body.
Additionally, a 2012 study concluded that a late-night glass of wine curbed snacking, hence aiding weight loss. However, it should be noted that the study involved bees not humans.
For the most part, studies predominantly focus on the benefits of red wine, primarily because white grapes do not contain reveratrol. Nevertheless, sparkling wine, particularly champagne, promises a number of health benefits too. Thankfully, the health benefits of red wine do not just end with weight loss. As you're about to see, a wine-drinking ritual can be a powerful health elixir. Of course, it goes without saying that overindulging can be detrimental to your health - so consume no more than 4 to 7 glasses a week.
Here are eight scientifically-proven reasons to enjoy a glass of red:
1. Live longer: In Ikaria, a small island in Greece, the locals have discovered a recipe for longevity from their culture and lifestyle. While there is a number of contributing factors to their long life, small doses of daily wine consumption forms a big part of their lifestyle. Locals in Crete and Sardinia also sip on dark red wine as a part of their anti-aging lifestyle.
Backing this theory up, a 2007 study suggested that procyanidins (compounds found in red wine tannins) help promote cardiovascular health. It was also discovered that the wines produced in southwest France and Sardinia (two locations where people tend to live longer) have a particularly high concentration of the compound.
Furthermore, researchers at Harvard Medical School, discovered that resveratrol directly activates a protein that promotes health and longevity. It has also been found to increase the activity of sirtuins - a group of genes that protect the body from diseases of aging.
2. Get smarter: Researchers found that resveratrol may help improve short-term memory. In one study, after 30 minutes of testing, participants taking resveratrol had a significant increase in retention of words and showed faster performance in the portion of the brain associated with memories, learning and emotions.
3. Say goodbye to the blues: Studies conducted in Spain found that men and women who consumed two to seven glasses of wine per week were less likely to be diagnosed with depression. The study also took into account lifestyle factors that could influence their findings - yet still, the reduced risk held strong.
4. Promote healthy eyes: According to Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, resveratrol stops out-of-control blood vessel growth in the eyes. This is believed to help with the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. However, it is important to note that these studies were carried out on mice. Whether the same can be applied for humans is yet to be determined. Nevertheless, it is a great start.
5. Protects your teeth: Drinking wine protects your teeth from bacteria, thanks to wine's antimicrobial effects. In fact, scientists discovered degradation of bacteria after applying red wine to dental plaque.
6. Reduces the risk of certain types of cancer: Red grapes have been found to suppress the activity of aromatase - an enzyme used by breast tumors to produce their own estrogen, called an aromatase inhibitor. Red wine may also serve as a nutritional aromatase inhibitor, alleviating the elevated breast cancer risk, associated with alcohol intake. Of course, red grapes (particularly their seeds) are especially helpful.
Furthermore, resveratrol is thought to kill cancer cells by cutting off a pathway that feeds the cancer. The consumption of red wine has also been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 50%. Harvard Men's Health Watch has reported that men who drink an average of four to seven glasses of red wine each week have a 52% less chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, when compared to those who don't. Doctors speculate that the flavanoids and resveratrol found in wine contain potent antioxidants that may counterbalance androgens - male hormones that stimulate the prostate.
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7. Reduces your risk of diabetes : Once again, the resveratrol plays an important role here. Men and women who drink wine moderately have been shown to have a 30% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Possibly because the resveratrol improves sensitivity to insulin (and insulin resistance is believed to be the most important factor that contributes to Type 2 diabetes risk).
8. Fend off a cold: Here's a remedy your grandma must have used. Although it may have been speculation then, science can now back this age-old theory up. A study, conducted across 5 universities in Spain looked at 4,000 faculty members. In the study, it was found that those who drank wine were less likely to come down with a cold, in comparison to those who drank beer or spirits. Researchers believe that the antioxidants help lower inflammation and reduce the symptoms of a cold.
Bottom line: All these health benefits may very well tempt you to keep a bottle of red on your nightstand - however, not so fast. Doctors are generally wary in recommending people to start drinking wine, as of course, too much alcohol can have harmful effects on the body. And although resveratrol is a key component in red wine, there are potentially healthier ways of reaping its benefits. Alternatively, you may snack on blueberries, grapes and strawberries - all of which are natural sources of resveratrol.