Alcohol has had a bad rap for decades when it comes to human health. For those who drink too much, alcohol can have devastating effects on the liver, heart, and immune function. However, the tide is turning when it comes to moderate alcohol consumption. Scientists have now proven that red wine in particular, could exert significant beneficial effects. One of the biggest discoveries, of course, is that red wine seems to keep LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in check.
Lately, researchers have been turning to the brain and looking at whether red wine could offer protection against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Many studies indicate that a moderate consumption of red wine does, in fact, provide protection to the brain, most likely due to the presence of phenolic compounds in wine. Wine polyphenolic compounds are well known for their antioxidant properties. Oxidative stress is involved in many forms of cellular and molecular deterioration. This damage can lead to cell death and neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
Now, you may be wondering: “Aren’t I still better off not drinking any alcohol at all?” Certainly, you want to avoid a situation where alcohol abuse becomes a problem. But now, studies are starting to show that, in comparison with abstainers or people who never drink, light/moderate alcohol/wine drinkers have lower risks of age-dependent cognitive decline and/or dementia.
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are caused by a progressive dysfunction in the brain that impacts behavior and physical function. Studies from different populations reveal that individuals with the habit of daily moderate wine consumption enjoy significant reductions in all-cause and particularly cardiovascular and neurodegenerative mortality when compared with individuals who abstain or who drink alcohol in excess.
Of course, you should probably get your family doctor’s advice before adding red wine to your meals (especially if you’re taking medication). But evidence continues to mount that a glass a day could boost good health.