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More possible health benefits of drinking wine
In our look at the possible health benefits of wine consumption, here are numbers 6 to 13 for your consideration.
6) Protecting from severe sunburn
Wine and grape derivatives can help reduce the damaging effects of UV (ultraviolet) light, scientists from the University of Barcelona in Spain reported in The Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry.
The authors explained that when UV rays make contact with human skin, they activate reactive oxygen species (ROS), which oxidize fats, DNA and other large molecules, which in turn stimulate other enzymes that harm skin cells. Flavonoids, found in wine and grapes, inhibit the formation of the ROS in skin cells that are exposed to sunlight.
7) Preventing blinding diseases
Red wine can stop the out-of-control blood vessel growth in the eye that causes blindness, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reported in the American Journal of Pathology.
Diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness among Americans aged 50+ years, are caused by an overgrowth of blood vessels (angiogenesis) in the eye.
The researchers explained that resveratrol is the compound in wine that protects vision. Grapes, blueberries, peanuts and some other plants are rich in resveratrol.
8) Damage after stroke
Red wine may protect the brain from stroke damage, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine wrote in the journal Experimental Neurology.
Professor Sylvain Doré believes that resveratrol in red wine raises levels of heme oxygenase, an enzyme known to protect nerve cells in the brain from damage. When somebody suffers a stroke, the brain is ready to protect itself because of higher enzyme levels.
Doré added that nobody yet knows whether it is just the resveratrol that has the health benefits, or it is the alcohol in the wine which may be needed to concentrate the levels of the compound.
9) Improving lung function and preventing lung cancer
Dutch scientists reported on a study that looked at the effects of resveratrol, red wine, and white wine on lung function.
They found that:
- Pure resveratrol was good for lung function
- White wine was also good for lung function
- Red wine made no difference
According to a number of scientific studies, moderate wine drinkers appear to enjoy better lung function, the authors added.
In another study, a team from Kaiser Permanente wrote in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention that red wine consumption may reduce lung cancer risk. Chun Chao, Ph.D., said "An antioxidant component in red wine may be protective of lung cancer, particularly among smokers."
10) Raising levels of omega-3 fatty acids
Wine is better than other alcoholic drinks in raising levels of omega-3 fatty acids in plasma and red blood cells, according to the IMMIDIET study involving European researchers from various countries.
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examined 1,604 adults from London in England, Abruzzo in Italy, and Limburg in Belgium. They all underwent a comprehensive medical examination with a primary care physician (general practitioner) and also completed an annual food frequency questionnaire which included details of their dietary and drinking habits.
They found that regular, moderate wine drinkers had higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are usually derived from eating fish. We know that omega-3 fatty acids protect against coronary heart disease.
The scientists found that drinking wine acts like a trigger, boosting levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the body.
11) Preventing liver disease
A study carried out at the UC San Diego School of Medicine concluded that modest wine consumption reduced the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by half compared to people who never drank wine. Their finding challenged conventional thinking regarding alcohol consumption and liver health.
The researchers reported in the journal Hepatology that regular, modest beer or liquor drinkers had more than four times the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease compared to the wine drinkers.
12) Protecting from prostate Cancer
A study published in the June 2007 issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch reported that male moderate red wine drinkers were 52% as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer as men who never drank red wine.
They defined moderate drinking as an average of four to seven glasses of red wine per week.
Initially, the Seattle researchers looked at general alcohol consumption and found no link to prostate cancer risk. However, when they went one step further and looked at different alcoholic beverages, they identified a clear association between red wine drinking and lower prostate cancer risk.
Even extremely moderate red wine consumption (one glass per week) reduced men's risk of prostate cancer by 6%, the authors informed.
13) Preventing type 2 diabetes
In an animal experiment, scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences discovered that a chemical found in red wine and the skin of red grapes - resveratrol - improved sensitivity to insulin. Insulin resistance is the most important critical factor contributing to type 2 diabetes risk.
The researchers reported in the journal Cell Metabolism that resveratrol also increased levels of the enzyme SIRT1, which was found to improve insulin sensitivity in mice.
Study leader, Qiwei Zhai said that red wine may have some benefits for insulin sensitivity, but this needs to be confirmed in further studies.
Could red wine be used to prevent dental cavities? - its healthful effects on the heart are well documented, but a new study suggests another part of the body may benefit from moderate red wine consumption: our teeth.
The researchers behind the new study, which is published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, explain that the oral cavity is "an enormously complex" and unique habitat within the human body.
Could compound in red wine, grapes treat acne? - A study published in the journal Dermatology and Therapy claims a compound derived from red grapes and found in red wine - resveratrol - may be an effective treatment for acne, particularly when combined with an already existing medication for the disorder.
Red wine compound activates stress response to promote health benefits - scientists from The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, suggest the compound resveratrol stimulates a stress response gene, which activates a number of genes that protect the body. Their research is published in the journal Nature.
Red wine contains a compound called resveratrol, which could reduce the risk of heart disease by changing the gut microbiome, according to research published in mBio.
Possible health benefits of wine - video
On the next page we look at resveratrol and its role in wine, the possible health risks associated with drinking too much wine and a brief history of wine and how it has been used through the ages.