Everyone’s probably familiar with the claims about how red wine, unlike other alcoholic drinks, is actually pretty healthy. It offers numerous benefits, and can perhaps even help you stay lean and fit.
Personally, I wholeheartedly agree! And although I cannot deny a slight degree of subjectivity on my own part here (being notoriously known as a lover of red-wine) the title of this post holds true, scientifically.
Red wine does rock, and my basis for saying so is not based solely upon my own opinion. Anyone who knows me knows that I serve the science, not the bullshit. But it just so happens that with regard to red wine, the scientific evidence seems to serve me pretty well.
From insulin sensitivity to better sleep (both of which ultimately lead to a leaner and stronger body), to cardiovascular and eye health, to red wine has a variety of claims to fame.
Here’s something we always hear: “Look at how long the French live, and the amount of red wine they drink.”
The French paradox does seem to speak for itself. How about I now speak up for red wine, to perhaps shed light upon why the French paradox in fact exists, whilst also showing that red wine is an all around awesome beverage.
1. Resveratrol content
There’s far more praise I can give the god-given antioxidant, resveratrol, than I can summarise in a few sentences. And this is not least because of the success I’ve had with my body-transformation clients in making use of resveratrol as a supplement to drop body fat.
So instead of giving you an essay, here’s a bullet-point list of the many benefits of resveratrol, which exists in very high concentrations in red wine:
- Positively effects insulin sensitivity and induces body fat loss
- Increased blood flow / reduced blood pressure
- Protection against cancers
- Protection against Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Influence on the SIRT1 enzyme (which perhaps accounts for the French Paradox, as SIRT1 is is associated with longevity)
- Glutamate-induced excitotoxicity seems to be inhibited by resveratrol
2. Procyanidins! [say whaaa?…]
Initially, many benefits of red wine were attributed to resveratrol, until research emerged into a potentially even more potent property than resveratrol – procyanidins: which have been shown to be very effective in preventing artery hardening and onset of type II diabetes.
They exist very high in wines from Sardinia and south-western France [I do love a good Merlot! Oh dear, am I starting to sound like a pretentious dick? Please tell me, if so!]
3. Gladiators drink it.
This point speaks for itself. Gladiators are badass, right. And they love their wine!
AND they’re all jacked! You can’t argue with that – although that’s more likely to be in spite of the wine, rather than because of the red wine [not to mention that the actors in the Spartacus TV series probably drunk NO alcohol whatsoever for the weeks leading up to filming]… still worth a mention though!
4. Melatonin content in red wine
Red wine contains a small amount of melatonin, which is a naturally occurring compound our bodies make in order for the benefit of sleeping well. Many people claim to feel sleepy when they drink red wine, and this is why.
Therefore, red wine makes for a fantastic evening beverage, or to have as part of your pre-bed snack. The melatonin will help send you off, and the other anti-oxidative properties will ensure oxidative stress doesn’t wake you up in the middle of the night – as explained in my post on nutrition for better sleep.
This is before we even mention melatonin’s other promising benefits, such as its effects on the immune system and even in treating autism.
5. Red wine is low in calories
This isn’t to suggest calories are the be all and end all. Certainly, the health-conscious individual or fitness enthusiast should put more emphasis on macronutrient ratios and nutrient density, instead of calories.
But the calories in red wine ARE low, especially when compared to other drinks. And at the end of the day, your energy intake needs to be controlled otherwise you’ll get fat, or at the very least, be utterly unable to get into better shape than you’re in at the moment. Without counting calories, understand that red wine is a drink that will be far less likely to lead to body-fat gain, for many reasons, but one being due to it’s lower calorie content.
Bearing that in mind, 6 cold beers weighing in at 900 calories is just going to – excuse the language – fuck you up, in more ways than one. Alternatively, are the 170 calories in red wine (with a mere 6g of carbohydrates) going to make much of a difference?! No. Not at all. Especially not if your alcohol consumption is not a regular thing, which it shouldn’t be, anyway.