It’s thought that grape cultivation and wine making started between 6,000 and 4,000 BC in Mesopotamia and the coastal areas around the Caspian Sea, so there’s nothing new about this tasty tipple. However, these days it’s far more widely consumed.
One of the good pieces of news for those who enjoy a glass or two is that wine is being found to have more and more health benefits. Every day, wine seems to have an extra little surprise for us in this respect.
A boost for your brain
It seems as though wine has a positive effect on your brain. According to researchers from Loyola University Medical Center, there’s a statistically significantly lower risk of dementia among regular, moderate red wine drinkers. The researchers analyzed data from scientific papers on red wine since 1977 from 19 countries and found this correlation in 14 of them.
The team behind the study suggested that the resveratrol found in wine lessens the stickiness of blood platelets. This helps to keep blood vessels open and flexible and maintains a good supply of blood to the brain. Resveratrol is a compound found in particular plants, including the grapes used in wine.
Regulating blood sugar
Type 2 diabetes is a huge, growing problem in developed countries. To minimize your risk of developing the condition, it’s important to have a healthy diet. Moderate amounts of red wine could be part of this. Researchers have found that resveratrol improves individuals’ sensitivity to insulin, reducing the chances that they’ll develop this blood sugar disorder.
Additionally, scientists at Harvard Medical School conducted a ten-year study which has revealed that premenopausal women who drink one or two glasses of wine a day are 40% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes that women who don’t drink.
Meanwhile, wine can also stave off sickness. A UK study discovered that drinking around one glass of wine a day diminishes the risk of infection by Helicobacter pylori bacteria by 11%. This bacterium is a major cause of gastritis, ulcers and stomach cancers. Also, scientists in Spain observed that as little as half a glass of wine could help to protect people from food poisoning.
So far, you can combat diabetes and bolster your brain by drinking wine. However, wine just keeps on giving. Research has revealed that alcohol can enhance the health of your bones. Studies have suggested that women who drink moderately have a higher bone mass than their counterparts who abstain. This may be because alcohol seems to boost estrogen levels and this hormone slows the body’s destruction of old bone.
Of course, wine isn’t just a sophisticated drink. You can use it to fabulous effect in cooking, by adding a drop to casseroles, stews and sauces. When you heat the food, the alcohol evaporates, simply leaving you with the flavor. One example of a healthy dish that benefits from a splash of the good stuff is vegetable ratatouille. A drop of red wine really enhances this classic dish’s flavor. Meanwhile, an indulgent yet nutritious dessert is pears poached in red wine.
Armed with this this newfound knowledge about the health benefits of wine, you can enjoy it (in moderation of course) with a clear conscience! To your health (literally!)!