Recent studies have shown that wine may have beneficial health effects for adults, and in particular elderly people. According to these studies, wine can help decrease the risk of heart diseases, cancer, kidney disease and even Alzheimer’s. So what is it in wine that makes it beneficial for your health?
Experimental studies suggest that wine and other fermented products contain the following:
- Flavonoids (chrysin and apigenin)
The following are the main components believed to be related to the health benefits of drinking wine:
Polyphenols are naturally occurring substances. They can be found in most plants and they comprise almost 50% of the weight of the leaves. The most abundant type of polyphenols present in plants is called ‘condensed tannins’. When these plants are dried and made into tea, the tannin component and polyphenol content become active. This is why tea is also considered a healthy drink, because of the naturally occurring polyphenol it contains. Wine also contains naturally occurring polyphenols because these are derived from plant sources (grapes) and are fermented. Fermentation and other processes of preservation further bring out the polyphenol content.
So what do polyphenols do to our bodies? Polyphenols are potent antioxidants. Consumption of food and drinks with high polyphenol content has been observed to decrease the incidence of major diseases like heart disease and cancer. A perfect example of this is the comparison between the American and the French diet. Both the French and the American diets are composed of a considerable amount of fat; however the French suffer less from incidences of cardiovascular disease than the Americans. So what differentiates the American diet from the French diet? It is the incorporation of wine as a normal part of French meals. Although the French diet is also high in fat, their regular consumption of wine seems to protect their bodies from heart attacks and other vascular diseases.
So how do polyphenols do this? As stated earlier, polyphenols are potent antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that prevent oxygen free radicals from damaging the body’s cells. Oxygen free radicals, radicals or oxidants are compounds that attach themselves to the human cells and can cause significant damage. These radicals are found everywhere, but are increased when a person is exposed to pollution, stress and an unhealthy diet. The presence of free radicals can make the blood cells and blood vessels weaker (thereby causing cardiovascular diseases) and can change the structure and function of a cell (similar to what happens in cancer cases). This is why free radicals are often associated with different disease conditions. The presence of polyphenols eradicates the free radicals and protects the human cells from damage and eventually from different disease conditions.
Flavonoids are also naturally occurring substances, mainly found in plants. Some of the main sources of flavonoids are citrus fruits, tea, wine and dark chocolate. What are the potential health effects? Flavonoids are now the center of interest for numerous studies because there is evidence that suggests that they can fight cancer as well as other diseases. Flavonoids are suggested to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects. Flavonoids are also strongly associated with strengthening the cardiovascular system, thereby decreasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.
Catechins are compounds that are similar to flavonoids. There is research that suggests they reduce the formation of atherosclerotic plaques (which can cause heart attack or stroke), protect the DNA and also possess anti-cancer effects.
With the significant health benefits that wine offers, you might consider making wine a part of your daily diet. You can purchase wine from great wine clubs such as Zagat wine and Laithwaites wine. If you use the Zagat wine club coupon code and Laithwaites wine promotional codes you can purchase your wine at a more favorable price – and toast your health!