Red Wine is Actually Good for your Health

The production process of red wine allows the grape juice to ferment in the presence of the grape skin and seeds for up to two weeks. The process ensures that the product has more antioxidants, vitamins, and polyphenols that are not present in a majority of other available alcoholic drinks. According to Zujko, and Witkowska 1, polyphenols from plant foods are natural antioxidants that usually inhibit the pathogenesis of several diseases, which involve oxidative reactions. Numerous studies indicate that regular consumption of foods or beverages with polyphenols has the potential to reduce the risk of toxic processes in the body induced by the oxidative reactions. More specifically, the polyphenol present in red wine is called resveratrol, which is the key active ingredient that comes directly from the grape skins used in making the wine. Research indicates that when red wine is taken in moderation, resveratrol has several health benefits such as preventing damage of blood vessels, reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and prevents blood clots (1) Some research also indicates that resveratrol has benefits against skin disorders(2).

Unfortunately, despite the several epidemiological studies that show the various benefits of red wine, other studies indicate that sulfites added to red wine to prevent oxidation and spoilage increase the health risk of consuming red wine (3). After the consumption of red wine, some people get headaches, while others who are allergic to sulfur often develop bad asthmatic reactions. Similarly, studies indicate that excessive consumption of alcohol has detrimental effects on cardiovascular and the general health of an individual (4). Importantly noted, adverse effect of chronic alcohol consumption depends on the doses of intake, however, differing opinions state that regardless of the pattern of drinking, red wine has the potential of a therapeutic agent. Thus, despite the associated risks with the consumption of alcohol, the benefits outweigh the risks and red wine is actually good for your health. 

Alcoholic beverages have been consumed dating back to thousands of years as back as the early human emergence. There is no doubt that wine has attracted great human interest for personal and recreational use. As the drinking culture grew, scientific intrigue has also grown extensively as epidemiological evidence emerged in support for the hypothesis of the correlation between moderate consumption of alcohol and improved health. Notably, the interest to study the health benefits of red wine was triggered by the French paradox. According to Lippi, Franchini, and Favaloro 5, it is said that the French population has a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD), despite their high intake of diets with saturated fatty acids. The phenomenon, which was first described by an Irish physician in 1819 and later named the French paradox by Dr. Renaud a scientist from the Bordeaux University in 1992. In agreement to the French paradox, several indicate that moderate intake of red wine has potential benefits for the cardiovascular system. Reliable evidence indicates that the polyphenolic compound in red wine – the resveratrol plays n active role in preventing the development and the progression of cardiovascular diseases through a kaleidoscope of beneficial effects. 

Ideally, cardiovascular disease is a known life-threatening problem all over the world. The risk factors and high mortality rates from cardiovascular diseases have been proven from a vast of well-developed countries to a majority of developing countries, and sub-Saharan Africa. CVD is a leading cause of mortality and counts for at least one-third of the global deaths. Epidemiological research indicates that consumption of natural polyphenols found in foods and beverages such as grapes, vegetables, tea, or red wine has the potential to lower the incidence of cardiovascular diseases. Moderate consumption of red wine is markedly associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and exerts its effect through different mechanisms. For instance, according to Chiva-Blanch, Arranz, and Lamuela-Raventos 6, several studies regarding the polyphenols from wine, beer, and vegetables have compounds that exhibit antioxidant stress. Alcohol itself is known to induce oxidative stress. The polyphenol present in red wine has the ability to raise the levels of high-density lipoprotein, which in return increases the antioxidant plasmatic potential that inhibits the platelet aggregation and leukocyte adhesion (7). Along with that, a recent meta-analysis attempted to analyze the relationship between alcohol consumption and serum concentration of C-reactive protein. Ideally, the C-reactive protein is a substance produced by the liver increasing the presence of inflammation. The presence of a high level of CRP can be an indication of various different conditions including cardiovascular diseases, infections, and autoimmune conditions among others. Red wine is associated with reduced plasma CRP in healthy individuals and decreased the IL-6 plasmal concentration in high-risk patients. 

Alongside the prevention and therapy of cardiovascular diseases and cancers, resveratrol in red wine has several benefits to the skin. According to Hung et al. 1, topically applied resveratrol possesses a strong antiproliferative and chemopreventive properties that protect the skin against skin carcinogenesis. Resveratrol also protects the skin against damage from ultraviolet exposure. The polyphenolic is also used against the antimicrobial activity of the dermatophytes and herpes simplex virus. Along with that, resveratrol is known for its ability to activate estrogen receptors. 

Alcoholic beverages have been consumed for thousands of years, due to an extensive number of reasons such as social, personal, or religious reasons. Within the field of medicine, red wine in moderation has long been associated with several health benefits. More specifically, the ingredients used in the fermentation and the production process – the grape juice, which is fermented in the presence of grape skin and seeds produces a polyphenolic substance called resveratrol. Resveratrol is an active ingredient that has several health benefits when red wine is consumed in moderation. Among the benefits include the prevention of the development or cardiovascular diseases through various mechanisms such as preventing damage of blood vessels, reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, prevent inflammation, and the production of C-reactive protein among others. Resveratrol is also associated with various skin benefits, although research has not been comprehensive. 

References

1. Zujko, M. E., & Witkowska, A. M. Antioxidant Potential and Polyphenol Content of Beverages, Chocolates, Nuts, and Seeds. International Journal of Food Properties [Internet]. 2022 May [cited 2018 Jun 1];17(1), 86-92. Available from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10942912.2011.614984 DOI.org/10.1080/10942912.2011.614984

2. Hung, C.-F., Lin, Y.-K., Huang, Z.-R., & Fang, J.-Y. Delivery of Resveratrol, a Red Wine Polyphenol, from Solutions and Hydrogels via the Skin. Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin. [Internet]. 2008 May [cited 2018 Jun 1]; 31(5), 955-962. Available from: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bpb/31/5/31_5_955/_article DOI.ORG/10.1248/BPB.31.955

3. Chang, K. J., Liz, T. M. W., & Olsen, J. Wine and health perceptions: Exploring the impact of gender, age and ethnicity on consumer perceptions of wine and health. Wine Economics and Policy. [Internet]. 2016 Dec [cited 2018 Jun 1]; 5(2), 105-113. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212977416300151?via%3Dihub DOI.ORG/10.1016/J.WEP.2016.09.001

4. Haseeb, S., Alexander, B., & Baranchuk, A. Wine and Cardiovascular Health: A Comprehensive Review. Circulation. [Internet]. 2017 Oct [cited 2018 Jun 1]; 136(15), 1434-1448. Available from:  http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/136/15/1434.long DOI.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.030387

5. Lippi, G., Franchini, M., Favaloro, E., & Targher, G. (2010). Moderate Red Wine Consumption and Cardiovascular Disease Risk: Beyond the “French Paradox”. Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis. [Internet]. 2010 Feb. [Cited 2018 Jun 1]; 36(1), 59-70. Available from: https://www.thieme-connect.com/DOI/DOI?10.1055/s-0030-1248725 DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1248725

6. Chiva-Blanch, G., Arranz, S., Lamuela-Raventos, R. M., & Estruch, R.  Effects of Wine, Alcohol and Polyphenols on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: Evidences from Human Studies. Alcohol and Alcoholism. [Internet]. 2013 May. [Cited 2018 Jun 1]; 48(3), 270-277. Available from: https://academic.oup.com/alcalc/article/48/3/270/244770  DOI: 10.1093/alcalc/agt007

7. Mohamed, S. T. S., & Darbar, B. S. Red wine: A drink to your heart. Journal of Cardiovascular Disease Research. [Internet]. 2010 Oct-Dec. [Cited 2018 Jun 1]; 1(4), 171-176. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3023893/ DOI:  10.4103/0975-3583.74259

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