Pick Up That Bottle of Red—It’s Better for You Than You Know

Photo credit: Ruben Chamorro
Photo credit: Ruben Chamorro

The hellish week you had has come to an end and you can finally sit down with a nice-ish glass of red and your favorite mind-numbing show (Emily in Paris, TY for your service) and just…relax. Throw on a face mask and you’ve pulled into self-care station.

TBH, the face mask and the Netflix are great, but the red wine is what’s really gonna make you feel better. Aaaaand did you know that aside from curing your passive-aggressive Friday-night energy, red wine can benefit you in a plethora of health-related ways? If not, welcome.

“Red wine contains antioxidants, particularly polyphenols provided by the grapes,” says Gabby Geerts, a registered dietitian at Green Chef. “Polyphenols have been shown to improve heart function and blood pressure, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.” So red wine is basically…good for us? Sure!

One thing to keep in mind: In order to get that wellness boost, you have to stop sipping after a five-ounce glass. Otherwise, Geerts says, you’ll miss out on the healthy perks—and increase your risk of being seriously hungover the next day.

While, yes, that’s kind of a buzzkill (literally), keep in mind that a little glass is all you need to score massive, science-backed benefits. It’s no kale salad, but if you’re trying to improve heart function or help keep your blood sugar in check, a small glass of red isn’t the worst way to go about it.

So settle that mental debate at the wine store once and for all. The benefits below will have you stocking up on all the red blends (especially, ahem, ours) before you can even think about that sauvy b you used to enjoy. Cheers!

1. It could prevent cavities.

In a 2014 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers found that red wine (even the nonalcoholic kind) killed more cavity-causing bacteria than water spiked with alcohol. If it takes getting purple mouth to prevent cavities, count me in.

2. It might keep your allergies in check.

Sounds weird, but it could be legit. In a recent review of nearly 80 studies published in the journal Diseases, researchers suggest that flavonoids, an antioxidant found in red wine, could reduce allergy and asthma symptoms. More research is needed to confirm these findings, but hey, it’s promising.

3. It could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

In one somewhat gross study from 2017, researchers added wine-derived human gut metabolites—or the substance formed after your body digests wine and is found in poop—to deteriorating neurological cells. Then something weird happened: The metabolites kept the cells from dying. Science sure is…interesting!

4. It could reduce your risk of depression.

While heavy drinking has been associated with the issue of mental health, keeping your vino intake between two and seven five-ounce glasses a week might actually decrease your chances of developing the disorder, according to a 2013 study published in the journal BMC Medicine.

5. It can help keep your blood sugar in check…if you have type 2 diabetes.

In a 2015 study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, scientists assigned 224 patients who have type 2 diabetes to one of three groups. The first (and luckiest) group was instructed to drink five ounces of red with dinner every night for two years (PARTY!). The second (and second luckiest) had to drink five ounces of white. The last group drank mineral water (sad). By the end of the study, researchers found that the winos had better blood sugar control than those downing H2O. Plus, the red wine group improved their cholesterol levels. Merlot for all!

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