Alcohol is often touted as the devil’s potion, leaving you feeling a twinge of guilt when you reach for
the corkscrew after work. But in fact, if you keep to the ‘everything in moderation’ rule it can
actually have some benefit to you. That doesn’t mean that cheap beer and vodka shots should be
consumed daily, but it is true that some types of alcohol do give your health a boost.
The magic ingredient in wine is a substance called resveratrol. Produced by plants, its function there
is to fight bacteria, or as a form of protection during a drought or period without nutrients. It’s a
pretty key role to have. Resveratrol is also found in blueberries, cranberries, peanuts, red and purple
grapes and mulberries. Studies into the health benefits of wine have largely concentrated on red
wine because resveratrol is not found in white wine.
What are the benefits?
Longer life. On the island of Ikarios, the residents have the longest recorded lives. This is
partly due to the fact that they drink dark red wine daily. Harvard medical school
researchers have found evidence to suggest that resveratrol directly activates sirtuins;
proteins which act as longevity pathways.
Improves short term memory. After drinking a glass of wine your ability to retain words is
increased and the brain performs faster.
An all-in-one health tonic. Resveratrol improves and assists heart, bone and brain function.
And not only this, but drinking one glass of red wine per day on average reduces your chance
of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease substantially. This statistic held true even when
compared to teetotallers. Those who drank modest amounts of beer or spirits were almost
four times as likely to develop NAFLD.
Red wine equals white teeth. It may seem illogical, but a surprising benefit of drinking red
wine is that it protects your teeth from bacteria. This is due to its antimicrobial effect;
scientists found that when red wine was placed on a biofilm, the degeneration of bacteria
was immediate and almost complete.
Keeping you healthy. That’s right, red wine can keep you healthy! What more of an excuse
do you need? The preventative effects of resveratrol on certain types of cancer, such as
breast and colon cancers, are well documented. But in addition to this, Spanish researchers
discovered that those who drank red wine were less likely to develop colds and flu than
those who didn’t. This is believed to be the effect of antioxidants on inflammation.
All of the above are great reasons to enjoy a guilt-free glass of wine at the end of the day, but if
you needed more of a reason to indulge, then this might be it: repeated studies have shown that
isolating resveratrol as an active ingredient does not provide the same health benefits. To
properly reap the rewards of resveratrol you do actually need to drink wine. It is a combination
of factors, not just one, that benefit the body.