14 Ways Wine Enhances Health

We’ve all heard of the heart-healthy benefits of wine, but scientists are finding that a glass — or two — of red wine each day can lower the risk of many diseases.

Research shows that wine has large amounts of antioxidants that mop up free radicals, the chemicals that damage cells and play a major role in aging. And grape juice doesn’t provide the same benefits. The concentration of antioxidants called polyphenols, which includes resveratrol, are much higher in wine than in grape juice, says Seattle plastic surgeon Richard A Baxter. “In wine, the skin and seeds are part of the fermenting process, but both are removed when making grape juice,” he told WebMD.

An avalanche of studies show that moderate drinking, which is considered two glasses of wine each day for men and one for women, can aid your body from head to toe, including helping you fight cancer, lose weight, and maintain a sharp intellect.

Check out the 14 ways wine can improve your health:

* Heart attack. Two glasses a day of red wine – or champagne, if you prefer – help stave off circulation and heart problems. Many studies show that moderate amounts lower the risk of heart attack by 30 to 50 percent. In addition to protecting your heart, recent studies show that if you’re already had a heart attack, red wine may protect you from having another.

* Alzheimer’s. Studies show that regular wine drinkers reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 80 percent.

* Obesity. A study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that women who drank two glasses of red wine a day gained less weight than women who drank less each day or who didn’t drink at all. The teetotalers gained the most.

* Healthy skin. Studies found that people who drink red wine have fewer precancerous skin lesions called actinic keratoses.

* Colorectal cancer. The antioxidants and resveratrol in wine help fight cancer as well as suppress its development. A study done at New York’s Stony Brook University found that people who drink at least three glasses of red wine each week cut the risk of colorectal cancer by almost 70 percent.

* Prostate cancer. Polyphenols, a component of red wine, disrupt a cell signaling pathway essential for the growth of prostate cancer.

* Tooth decay. Italian scientists discovered that red wine makes it difficult for harmful bacteria to cling to teeth. In a statement on the United Kingdom’s National Health Service site, they said that the prevention of tooth decay “may be another beneficial effect of the moderate consumption of red wine.”

* Ovarian Cancer. Two studies — one Australian and one Hawaiian — found that a glass of wine a day reduced the risk of ovarian cancer by as much as 50 percent. But heavy drinking can increase the risk.

* Tummy troubles. A British study found that wine drinkers reduced their risk of infection by Helicobacter pylori bacteria by 11 percent. H. pylori can cause ulcers, stomach cancer, and gastritis. Wine may also guard against food poisoning caused by salmonella.

* Kidney stones. A Harvard University study found that wine reduced the risk of kidney stones by 59 percent in women and 39 percent in men.

* Cholesterol. Studies show that red wine can raise the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) while reducing the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) and preventing the formation of plaque in arteries.

* Strong bones. Moderate drinkers appear to have higher bone mass than those who don’t drink. Scientists believe alcohol boosts estrogen levels and slows the body’s breakdown of old bone.

* Diabetes. Harvard Medical School found that postmenopausal women who drank wine were 40 percent less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who didn’t drink. A Chinese study found that the resveratrol in red wine could help fight insulin resistance.

* Premature death. Studies in both the United States and Great Britain have found a link between drinking wine and a lowered risk of dying early. A study of British physicians found moderate drinking lowered the mortality for all causes by at least 16 percent, and a Chinese study of men found that moderate drinkers lowered their risk of dying by 19 percent. The U.S. Nurses’ Health Study found that “for women as a group, light to moderate alcohol consumption offers significant survival advantages.”