You’ve probably heard that drinking a glass of wine a day can help you live a longer, happier life. And, if you love a good glass of pinot, you may have already accepted it as fact and toasted your own health. However, there’s more to vino than meets the eye.
Drinking wine — or any kind of alcohol, for that matter — will have both positively and negatively affect your life. So, if you value your wellbeing, you’ll think twice before raising another glass. More importantly, you’ll learn a bit more about what that daily glass of wine does to your brain and body so you make the best choice according to your unique needs and personal preferences.
Scientists, dieticians and sommeliers have all touted the health benefits of wine, and, to be fair, the libation does come with its fair share of advantages.
Improved Heart Health
Red wine contains a high concentration of polyphenol antioxidants, which can boost heart health when consumed in moderation. These compounds can reduce your risk of high blood pressure, metabolic disease and high cholesterol, all of which can lead to heart disease. Thus, people struggling with these conditions — and those who may be prone to developing them — benefit from sipping some merlot or cabernet once a day.
Better Brain Function
Tasting wine flexes more mental muscles than any other human behavior, which can keep your brain young long into old age. Several studies point to resveratrol as the impetus of this process. This antioxidant-like compound prevents beta-amyloid from forming, thereby preventing Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related mental diseases.
Resveratrol also has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce pain and swelling and prevent fungal infections. In doing so, this compound reduces your risk of developing chronic inflammation-induced diseases like cancer and heart disease. Thus, a glass a day could very well keep the doctor away.
Good Gut Bacteria
If you frequently suffer from gastrointestinal issues, enjoying a glass of wine with dinner could help minimize symptoms. Polyphenols, which are prevalent in red varieties, can increase and diversify gut bacteria, much like probiotics in kombucha and Greek yogurt. These fermented products are especially beneficial for those with irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders.
Of course, drinking wine for its health benefits will also produce some negative effects, especially if you consume an excessive amount or develop an addiction.
Potential for Addiction
Nearly 15 million Americans suffer from alcohol use disorder, and 95,000 die from alcohol-related causes every year. While most of these situations stem from ingesting hard liquors, many people do develop wine addictions, which can have similar consequences. Eventually, what began as a good-intentioned habit can become an addiction and can cause serious health problems. Thus, drinking wine every day may not be the healthiest choice if you’re prone to alcoholism.
Poor Mental Health
While resveratrol can offer protection against depression, stress and anxiety, ingesting too much can have the opposite effect. After blissful feelings wear off, those struggling with mental health disorders may experience more intense symptoms. In turn, these effects can cause them to drink even more, therein initiating an endless cycle of use and abuse that may end in self-harm or even suicide.
Low Sleep Quality
Drinking wine can induce feelings of relaxation and sleepiness. However, falling and staying asleep after imbibing can often be difficult. That’s because consuming alcohol before going to bed can suppress and disrupt the rapid-eye movement sleep stage. This stage repeats in a cyclical fashion each night and facilitates brain recovery. Therefore, drinking too much or at inopportune times could be detrimental to your overall health.
Alcohol use accounts for 6% of all cancer cases in the United States, including cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, breasts, colon, voice box and esophagus. Some scientists also believe wine and other spirits to increase your risk of stomach cancer, too. This news can be confusing for people who enjoy wine for its anti-cancer properties. However, most of these issues stem from heavy drinking. Thus, as long as you limit yourself to one glass per day, you should experience positive effects rather than negative ones.
Is drinking a glass of wine a day worth it? Well, the answer depends on your health, lifestyle and personal convictions. Ultimately, the decision is yours, but weighing the pros and cons may help you come to the best conclusion.
Talk to your doctor to determine how drinking in moderation could benefit your physical and mental health. Then, if you have any further concerns or simply don’t want to risk the potential consequences, turn to a healthy diet instead. This option is much more healthful than consuming alcohol, anyway. Plus, you’ll feel better and always have your wits about you, which can prevent injuries and other potential complications
Regardless of what you choose to do, it’s best to keep your mind and heart open. After all, what’s best for you today might not be the most beneficial solution tomorrow.
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