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Health, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Prevention

Red or White? The Benefits and Risks of Drinking Wine

pexels-photo-374073 ResizedAfter a long or stressful day, many of us enjoy sitting down at home with a glass of wine. For hundreds of years, wine has been used as a home remedy for various conditions. Some studies show that wine is connected to helping increase HDL blood cholesterol levels, while also stopping bad cholesterol from forming. It’s also been linked to increased appetite, which can help those with conditions that limit their desire for food. There’s even evidence that resveratrol, a flavonoid found in grapes (and wine) can boost heart health and protect against certain cancers. That sounds great, right? But what’s the catch?First and foremost, wine contains alcohol. If not consumed in reasonable, healthy amounts, alcohol can lead to a number of negative health conditions, including:• Depression• Addiction• Cardiomyopathy (diseases of the heart muscle)• Arrhythmias (an irregular heartbeat)• Stroke• Hypertension• Fatty Liver • Alcoholic hepatitis• Cirrhosis (chronic liver disease)• Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)Many of us also think about having a glass of wine to help us sleep, but be careful. The reason we feel drowsy when drinking wine is because alcohol is not digested. Instead, it moves through the stomach lining and into the bloodstream. Once there, it slows down cell activity. However, this drowsiness doesn’t last long, and consumption of alcohol actually results in lighter, less restful sleep. If you really want better sleep, staying physically active and drinking less alcohol will help much more than wine.There’s also a connection between drinking wine and obesity. For many of us, one glass turns into two, which might add up to a whole bottle. On average, one 5-ounce glass of dry wine has 100 calories, while 12-ounce wine coolers are slightly higher at around 180. Not only are these mostly unnecessary calories, but since alcohol also is connected to increased appetite, you’ll usually eat more after a few drinks. If this becomes a pattern, it’s easy to start gaining weight. Finally, it’s important to note that many of the supposed health benefits are connected to resveratrol, and not wine. This flavonoid is found in many non-alcoholic sources, including red grapes, blueberries, cranberries, and peanuts. You can also by resveratrol in supplement form, so drinking wine isn’t necessary if you’re worried about the effects of alcohol or are trying to cut back or avoid drinking it.While wine is fine in moderation, keep in mind the U.S. Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020 and what they say about alcohol: “The Dietary Guidelines does not recommend that individuals begin drinking or drink more for any reason. The amount of alcohol and calories in beverages varies and should be accounted for within the limits of healthy eating patterns. Alcohol should be consumed only by adults of legal drinking age. There are many circumstances in which individuals should not drink, such as during pregnancy.”

Category Health, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Prevention
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