Ladies, sit back and enjoy a glass of wine after a hard day of work. Research has shown drinking a glass of red wine in moderation may provide health benefits for women. Researchers still have much to study in the red wine vs. health debate, so consult a physician before consuming red wine and drink in moderation.
Drinking Like the French
The French enjoy red wine on a daily basis while eating a diet rich in saturated fats. At the same time, French women and men suffer a relatively low incidence of heart disease. The term "The French Paradox" was coined in the 1980s to describe this phenomenon. When Dr. Serge Renaud discussed the paradox on American television in the early 1990s, red wine consumption increased by almost 40 percent. The new interest in drinking red wine for health reason opened the door for researchers to study the various components in red wine and its effects on the human body, especially women.
Benefits Found in Red Wine Grapes
Antioxidants found in the skin of red wine grapes can have beneficial effects for women. Red wines can help prevent some cancers and heart disease, while also reducing inflammations caused by arthritis. One study determined that revesterol, an antioxidant found in the red wine grape skins, might inhibit tumor development in some cancers. Other studies have shown women who drink one to two glasses of wine daily have 5 to 8 percent denser bones, preventing injuries. Another study noted this same antioxidant helped form nerve cells, which may help treat Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases.
Dangers of Overcomsumption
Excessive drinking of red wine or alcohol can lead to negative health effects for women, including weight gain and addiction problems. It can cause a rise in the levels of LDL cholesterol, frequently referred to as bad cholesterol. In addition, studies have shown that red wine increases estrogen levels in women, possibly forming an association between breast cancer and red wine intake. In addition, red wine and other alcohol can impair judgment and the decision-making process and should always be consumed with caution.
Finding the Healthiest Red Wines
Researchers have studied various types of wine grapes to determine their overall benefit. Some red wine grapes have higher concentrations of flavonoids, a type of antioxidant present in the grape skin. Researchers at the University of California, Davis, determined cabernet sauvignon grapes, followed by petite syrah and pinot noir, have the highest concentrations of flavonoids. The researchers also discovered red zinfandels and merlot possess fewer flavonoids. For women who prefer white wines, the amount of flavonoid present is significantly lower and the benefit is less. Generally, the sweeter the wine, the fewer the flavonoids. Your best bet is a dry red wine.
One serving of red wine is four to five ounces. For maximum benefit, women should consume only one or two servings per day. Those consuming more than two servings a day face an increased risk for elevated fat in the bloodstream, nerve cell damage, and pancreas and liver damage. Non-drinkers who want to start drinking red wine for its health benefits should first consult a physician and remember to exercise moderation.