While too much of anything is inevitably bad for you, indulging in certain vices in moderation can actually have a beneficial effect – specifically wine.
Studies have shown that wine, especially red wine, can have a wide range of health-promoting properties, from protecting your heart to preventing illness and disease.
And while too much wine can be damaging to your liver (alcoholism is a serious disease with many negative health consequences(1)), a glass of red wine every now and then may go a long way towards promoting overall health.
Here are some compelling reasons why the occasional glass of red wine isn’t so bad.
1. It Contains Antioxidants
Red wine is an excellent source of antioxidants, which can bind to lipoproteins and protect them from metal ion-dependent and independent oxidation – that means it can reduce your levels of “bad” cholesterol and build up your levels of “good” cholesterol(2).
2. It Helps Ward Off Cancer
Red wine has been shown to slow the growth of certain types of cancer cells, and protect against oral cancer(3).
3. It Decreases Your Risk Of Osteoporosis
“Moderate alcohol as a component of a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and physical activity may lower the risk of osteoporosis,” one researcher tells WebMD(4).
Healthy women who consumed alcohol in moderation as part of a balanced diet tended to have no history of fractures related to osteoporosis, according to one study.
4. Abstaining Is Worse For Your Health
According to an article from The Independent, “drinking more than the current recommended daily intake may in fact be healthier than being a teetotaler.”(5) While heavy drinking is worse for your health than abstaining from drinking altogether, moderate drinking may be better for you than abstention.
5. It Moderates Your Gut Bacteria
Polyphenols found in red wine can modulate your gut bacteria, promoting the production of “good” bacteria and inhibiting “bad” bacteria(6).
7. It Protects Your Heart
The cardioprotective effects of wine are well documented. It can dilate your arteries and increase blood flow, lowering your risk of blood clots and protecting you from cardiovascular disease and heart attacks(7).
8. It Lowers Your Risk For Dementia
While heavy drinking is associated with an increased risk for developing cognitive problems, regular light to moderate drinking is associated with a lower risk of dementia, as well as for ischemic stroke(8).
The lessons we can draw from this are that while heavy drinking is obviously bad for your health, light to moderate drinking – when it’s part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle – can actually be great for your health.
So don’t abstain for the sake of abstaining; if you’re comfortable drinking and can do so in moderation, there’s no reason not to have the occasional glass of wine with some friends.