Celebrate National Wine Day and Learn About its Health Benefits

National Wine Day is today, May 25. (National Drink Wine Day was Feb. 18.) Considering its health benefits, food-friendliness and overall deliciousness, maybe wine day should be every day — in moderation, of course.

Moderation is considered one drink for women and two drinks for men in a day. For wine, 5 ounces is considered one drink, while for beer it is 12 ounces and for liquor about 1.5 ounces is a serving.

Health Benefits of Wine and Other Alcoholic Beverages

Originally, research showed that wine — specifically red wine — positively impacts heart health. Now it is known that all alcohol offers health benefits too, such as:

  • Reduces the risk of heart disease with various antioxidants such as polyphenols and resveratrol
  • Helps to increase HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Reduces the risk of some cancers
  • Slows the progression of some neurological disorders, like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s
  • May help increase insulin sensitivity in the body, which reduces the risk of diabetes

Remember not everyone should consume alcohol. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not drink alcohol for the safety of their child. Also if you have a family history of alcoholism you should avoid alcohol.

The Other Side of Alcohol Consumption

I can’t stress enough that drinking alcohol should be kept in moderation. Even though there are some benefits, there is a fine line and all of a sudden the benefits can change to a risk quickly with too much alcohol. Here are some things to be aware of when overdoing it:

  • Safety and impaired judgement with too much alcohol; drinking and driving or operating heavy machinery
  • High triglycerides (TGL), which impairs heart health and increases risk for diabetes
  • Increases estrogen in the body, which heightens the risk for breast cancer
  • Triggers dehydration, headaches and migraines
  • Weight gain:
    • 5 ounces of wine has about 120 calories
    • A 12-ounce can of beer has about 150 calories
    • A 12-ounce can of light beer has about 96 calories
    • 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor has about 96 calories

You should consider your situation before consuming alcohol, since it’s always case by case. For example, a women in her 20s who doesn’t drink alcohol does not necessarily need to start drinking to try to gain some health benefit. On the other hand, a man in his 60s with impaired heart health and high total cholesterol and low HDL who occasionally drinks, could benefit by consuming alcohol in moderation.

I like to have a glass of wine with dinner or a social cocktail with friends, but remember to be realistic when drinking. Alcohol can be beneficial in moderation. Stay informed about your body and your health. Cheers!

Photo Credit:  crashoverreason

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