When it comes to alcohol, maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t exactly the main reason why most people drink. That being said, if you are looking for some guilt-free indulgence, red wine has long been considered among the “healthier” choices of alcoholic beverages.

So is red wine actually good for you? It’s a debate that’s intensified in recent years thanks to some fascinating studies. Although some reports conclude there’s simply no amount of alcohol that’s healthy, many published papers point to the ways red wine benefits us.

Over the years, StudyFinds has published a number of these reports. Here’s a look at five studies that suggest that drinking red wine (in moderation and with approval by your physician) can be good for you.

Red wine, even just occasionally, may improve gut health

People who drink red wine enjoy increased gut microbiota diversity compared to non-drinkers. They also show lower levels of “bad” cholesterol and obesity.

The study out of London set out to investigate the effects of red wine, white wine, cider, beer, and liquor on the gut microbiome and overall health of 916 U.K.-born female twins. Results show that red wine drinkers’ gut microbiomes were more diverse than participants who preferred other forms of alcohol.

Red wine drinkers’ gut microbiota contained a larger number of different bacterial species compared to other participants. That held true even across three additional population samples including the studies from the U.K., the U.S., and The Netherlands.

The study theorizes that the polyphenols found in red wine may be causing this bacterial diversity. These chemicals boast various benefits such as antioxidants. They’re also believed to act as fuel for microbes found in the human body. According to the findings, the study says just drinking red wine once every two weeks should be enough to promote a healthier gut!

READ MORE: Toast To This: Red Wine Drinkers Enjoy Better Gut Health

Just a glass of wine with dinner can help prevent diabetes

Researchers from Tulane University report that drinking wine with dinner could help stave off diabetes. Compounds in grape skin combat the metabolic disease by reducing blood sugar levels, say scientists. But drinking beer or liquor with food increases the risk.

The finding is based on data from 312,000 British residents who describe themselves as regular drinkers. Those who had a glass of wine or two — particularly red — at mealtimes were 14 percent less likely to develop the metabolic disease over the next decade.

“Drinking moderate amounts of wine with meals may prevent Type 2 diabetes if you do not have another health condition that may be negatively affected by moderate alcohol consumption and in consultation with your doctor,” says lead author Dr. Hao Ma, a biostatistical analyst at the Tulane University Obesity Research Center.

Wine is rich in healthy plant chemicals including resveratrol, which acts like an antioxidant. Red varieties are particularly abundant in the compound.

READ MORE: Having a glass of wine with dinner may help you avoid diabetes

Three glasses of red per week improves blood pressure?

Flavonoid-rich foods such as berries, wine, apples, and pears pose positive effect on blood pressure levels. The findings also show connection to the influence of the gut microbiome.

In the study, researchers recruited 904 adults between 25 and 82 years-old for this project. Aiming to investigate the association between eating flavonoid-rich foods in connection with blood pressure and gut microbiome diversity.

Results reveal participants with high intake of flavonoid-rich foods had both lower systolic blood pressure levels and greater gut microbiome diversity than those who consumed very little. In addition, up to 15.2 percent of the link between flavonoid-rich foods and blood pressure could indeed by explained by gut microbiome diversity. Thus, drinking about three glasses of red wine weekly (125 ml of wine per glass) can lower blood pressure by an average of 3.7 mm/Hg. The gut microbiome accounts for about 15 percent of this benefit as well.

However, that these findings shouldn’t be used as an excuse to drink more alcohol. For those deciding to drink a bit more wine, the study suggests that you consult your doctor first.

READ MORE: How 3 glasses of red wine each week and a daily dose of berries can improve blood pressure

Enjoy that wine and cheese pairing together for better brain health

If the sight of a cheese platter and some good wine at a party brings you sheer delight, you’re in luck! Scientists say that this popular pairing may actually contribute to better cognitive health as you age, which may also help fight Alzheimer’s disease.

The study examined health records for nearly 1,800 adults between 46 and 77 years-old in the United Kingdom. Results reveal a surprising diet that may form an unlikely defense against cognitive decline later in life. Moreover, cheese provides the most protection against age-related cognitive issues. Its impact is significantly greater than any other food in the report. But not just cheese. The study also finds consuming red wine daily, can improve cognitive function as you age.

Depending on the genetic factors you carry, some individuals seem to be more protected from the effects of Alzheimer’s, while other seem to be at greater risk. That said, right food choices can prevent the disease and cognitive decline altogether.

READ MORE: More wine and cheese may help reduce cognitive decline, fight Alzheimer’s disease

Is red wine the key to humans walking on Mars?

One of the biggest problems humans face as we consider deep space exploration, is the effect it will have on our bodies. Without gravity, human muscles and bones quickly deteriorate and loss strength. According to NASA, a trip to Mars would take roughly nine months to complete. So by the time a team of astronauts actually make it to Mars, their muscles and bones would likely be so weak that they would be unable to walk.

However, a new study has discovered a possible solution to this problem: resveratrol.

In this experiment, rats were put into a full body harness and suspended via chain from their cage ceiling. The rats were exposed to Mars gravitational pull (40% of the Earth’s) in this manner for 14 days. Half of the rats were given 150 mg of resveratrol each day mixed into their drinking water, while the other portion of rats were given regular water. The results undeniably indicate that resveratrol can help stop the effects of low gravity; the rats that received resveratrol supplementation almost completely retained their front and rear paw grip. Additionally, muscle mass in the lower legs and calves were completely protected and the loss of slow-twitch muscle fibers was reduced.

Resveratrol, a compound found in grape skin, blueberries, and red wine, may hold the answer to overcoming this dilemma. It displayed the ability to substantially preserve muscle mass and strength in rats exposed to simulated Mars gravity. It has shown to preserve bone and muscle mass in rats during complete unloading, analogous to microgravity during spaceflight.

Moreover, the study says that a big part of resveratrol’s effectiveness is likely linked to its ability to increase insulin sensitivity. Resveratrol is also an anti-inflammatory, which helps sustain muscle and bone.

READ MORE: Could Red Wine Be The Key To Humans Walking On Mars?

Red wine lovers can certainly rejoice after reading this exciting collection of research. That said, there are also many studies indicating that alcohol also comes with a slew of potentially harmful effects for the body. It’s extremely important to consult a doctor before making any dietary and lifestyle changes, particularly when it comes to alcohol.

About StudyFinds Wire

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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