The Big Idea
When Dulcie was working in the big smoke, she set a competition with her executive trainees to see who could come up with a top #Tip for The52Project. Now maybe it was because this was and event with a successful hospitality chain but the competing ideas for #Tips tended to involve either being more social or food and drink…
For us, the one that stood out was Nick and Perry’s simple but well argued idea: simply drinking a glass of red wine. Despite having reservations about alcoholic drinks the guys argued that there was far more to it than just a glass of wine. The more they spoke, the more we could see that they had grasped the essence of a what the52tips is about – namely tips that work on so many different levels. As we made the connections we quickly saw how responsibly drinking a glass of red wine can tie in (stack) a number of #Tips including: #Tip13 Treat Yourself and #Tip14 Plant Power.
We were thrilled to have Nick and Perry to help us out on the Instagram Live – where they really did their homework as to how red wine, in moderation of course, can be good for health. Some of them might really surprise you! It certainly surprised us!
Got it…What’s the Science
As well as Nick and Perry we are indebted to a list of science based benefits compiled by Mark Davis in a blog for Whitehall Lane Winery. Before you cry foul, because this was published by a winery and the guys work in the hospitality industry, there definitely seems to be some persuasive arguments. We say arguments, because actually this is in part what science is: making arguments (evidenced based proposal or ideas) and then working out whether they stand up or not, whilst also coming up with alternative ideas.
What we do know is that research does back up that consuming a moderate amount of red wine, which has an alcohol content of 12% -15%, on a daily basis helps in the prevention of a number of diseases including heart disease. It is really important to stress here that this is moderate amounts, about a standard pub measure: 125mls which is generally equivalent to one unit of alcohol – up to perhaps 2 measures.
So here are some the top reasons why a glass of red wine a day might help keep the doctor away:
Reason 1: Rich in Antioxidants
Red wines come in a wide variety of tastes and colours due to the grapes they are made from, the conditions and soil that they are grown in and the way in which they are fermented and then stored (matured). There are many varieties of course that are named after the grape that they are made from. The most common of which are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz etc. The key is that the darker the grape (especially the skin) the more key health benefiting antioxidants such as resveratrol and proanthocyanidins they have. Proanthocyanidins are in a group of compounds called polyphenols, that belong to a subclass called flavonoids, which give plants and berries their red, blue and purple colours. Other rich sources of proanthocyanidins include red apple skin and blueberries. It is widely known that a diet that includes these compounds from fresh fruit and vegetables are know to reduce the likelihood of you getting cancer or suffering effects of ageing by lowering the incidence of DNA damage.
Reason 2: Keep Your Heart Healthy
Research shows polyphenols can help keep your blood vessels healthy (especially their lining of endothelial cells) – keeping them flexible and so promoting good circulation and lower blood pressure levels. Although, research suggest an excess extracted polyphenols may be damaging as they are without the co-benefits of planet nutrients that usually occur with a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables. Also some studies suggest that the lowering of blood pressure is due to the depressive / relaxing effects of the alcohol on our mood and is therefore only short lived. Polyphenols may however also help prevent blood clots that can cause heart attacks and strokes.
Reason 3: Lowers Bad Cholesterol
Research has shown that moderate red wine consumption over about 4 weeks was associated with desirable increases in good cholesterol (HDL-C) and fibrinogen compared with drinking water with or without red grape extract. HDL-C itself us also known to be good for our health by: removing excess ‘bad cholesterol’ (LDL-C) by removing them form blood vessels and other organs to the liver where it is broken down; HDL-C also seems to have an anti-inflammatory effect on blood vessels as well as having an antioxidant effect itself too. According to a study, the high-fiber Tempranillo red grapes, used to make certain varieties of red wines such as Rioja, best lower bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.
Reason 4: Lower Blood Sugar Levels?
Moderate drinking red wine has been associated in helping those with type 2 diabetes. We already know that resveratrol is a natural antioxidant and polyphenol compound in grape skins. Some research suggests that taking daily resveratrol supplements over a number of months lower glucose levels in blood than those who did not as well as improve insulin resistance. That said, others suggest that the amount of wine needed to be consumed to have a similar effect makes this an unrealistic mechanism of action.
Reason 5: Keeps Your Brain Healthy?
According to research, the resveratrol present in red wines, can inhibit the formation of beta-amyloid protein which is a key component of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Some suggest that resveratrol is beneficial for the healthy functioning of the central nervous system as a whole. Those given 200mg daily resveratrol supplements have been shown to have improved working memory (cognitive) function that may reflect improvements in the integrity and functionality of the hippocampus (a brain structure in the brain associated with learning and memory). That said again, the amount of resveratrol in a glass of wine is typically around 1mg. Arguably moderate drinking with others can have other befits known to keep your brain fit and healthy from healthy stimulation and socialisation that is also protective against depression and negative affects of isolation. Some like, Jeannie Cho Lee, suggest that this wine culture can become a way of enjoying the best in life and means of finding others who also like sophistication in their healthy hedonism (#Tip34 Find Your Flock).
Reason 6: Good for Your Gut Health
A study by a team of scientists from King’s College London has found that red wine drinkers had a greater diversity of bacteria in their digestive tracts, which is a marker of gastrointestinal health, compared to those who consumed other kinds of alcohol. Lead author Caroline Le Roy suggest that a greater diversity of gut bacteria means those are “more able to fight disease and produce more metabolites from food”. There is also a plethora of research that associate healthy gut flora is fundamental to healthy body functions.
Watch our #Tip42 on the Instagram Live Recording….
With Dulcie, Dr Iain and special guests Nick and Perry.
The Role of Polyphenols in Human Health and Food Systems: A Mini-Review (2018) – research paper
Red wine may be better for the digestive system than any other alcohol (2019) – online news article
The keys here are:
Moderation! Moderation and moderation! All the research conducted suggest that this is only one to two glasses (at 125mls) of red wine a day. Please don’t take this as a cue to more is better…
If you have an addictive personality or have had issues with alcohol addiction in the past, or even in your family history, please avoid this #Tip – it could do more harm than good. Drinking more than one to two glasses of wine (one to two units of alcohol) a day for anyone is likely to ultimately be damaging to your health and so totally counterproductive. As a result, doctors currently recommend having a couple of days rest from alcohol a week to give your liver a break (the liver breaks down toxins in our body such as alcohol). If you think you are having difficulties with controlling your alcohol intake do seek medical advice from your GP. You can also speak to, and get advice from: Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous UK or the NHS.
Keeping and open mind but be realistic here too. Arguably the concentrations of the beneficial compounds in red wine such as resveratrol is lower than has been shown to have a measurable benefit when given in isolation. That said a little and often could still be beneficial, it’s just currently hard to quantify or qualify measure this. What we do know is that a mediterranean diet that has historically included wine along with lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and fish, has been beneficial to the health and wellbeing of those that have it. We suspect here that theres is a additive social component in which such food and drink has been consumed in such cultures – leading to moderation and the benefits of social connection.
Tales from our Test Partners
Watch this space… Or why not fill it with some of your red pics?!
Related Top Tips
Leave a Reply