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Celebrate 8 Health Benefits of Wine for National Wine Day

By HERWriter
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Celebrate 8 Healthy Benefits of Wine for National Wine Day Monkey Business/Fotolia

It’s National Wine Day on May 25, 2016. Sounds like a good day to promote the health benefits from wine. Please note — health benefits are from moderate consumption. That’s one to two four-ounce glasses of wine a day.

Many experts list these eight benefits of wine:

1) Keeps Memory Sharp

Resveratrol can halt beta-amyloid protein formation. That protein is the main ingredient of the plaque found in the brains of those with Alzheimer's disease, Philippe Marambaud, PhD, a senior research scientist at Litwin-Zucker Research Center for the Study of Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders, told Prevention.com.

Health.com said that wine helps to reduce blood vessel inflammation and to prevent clots. These both play a part when it comes to cognitive decline.

2) Less Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

Procyanidins, found in red wine tannins, protect against heart disease. A daily glass of red wine reduced blood clot-related stroke rates by 50 percent, stated MedicalDaily.com.

Polyphenols, the antioxidants in red wine, are said to be as effective as aspirin in the fight against heart disease. But too much heavy drinking is bad for your heart. Moderation is your friend.

3) Reduces Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Research published in Diabetes Care found that moderate drinkers have 30 percent less risk than nondrinkers of developing type 2 diabetes.

4) Controls Blood Sugar

A great source of resveratrol is the skin of red grapes. Research in the journal Nutrition says that this skin can help diabetics regulate their blood sugar.

5) Keeps Weight Off

Moderate wine drinkers have less belly fat and smaller waists than people who drink spirits.

People convert resveratrol to piceatannol, a chemical compound. Research suggests that piceatannol can prevent fat cells from growing.

Castillo, Stephanie. "8 Reasons To Love Red Wine." Prevention. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2016.

Gordon, Debra. "6 Reasons Why a Little Glass of Wine Each Day May Do You Good." Health.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2016.

Olson, Samantha. "Drinking Red Wine Will Give You A Buzz And Burn Some Fat." Medical Daily. N.p., 2015. Web. 14 May 2016.

Quinlan, Christine. "8 Health Benefits of Drinking Wine." Food & Wine. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2016.

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EmpowHER Guest

Like with Tobacco data, consumers should consider the funding source for all the studies one might see. Nearly all the wine and health benefit studies have been funded by the wine and spirits industry. What is their interest, do you suppose? Could it be to sell more wine?

I am a pro-health advocate. I am not anti- alcohol, or anti-drinking. After reviewing many legitimate studies and seeing what health advocates are saying, I believe consumers have a right to know more than just the wine industry perspective. If people believe the resveratrol science, they should know they can get the health benefit of resveratrol from drinking grape juice, eating grapes, peanuts, blueberries, dark chocolate and cranberries. All without putting oneself at greater risk of cancer from alcohol.

All the studies showing longer life for drinkers do not consider 'abstainer bias', and when corrected, studies show zero health benefits from alcohol consumption for moderate drinkers. Consumers have a right to know the health risks associated with alcohol.
According to a 2016 meta-study of 87 other studies, "After adjustment for abstainer biases and quality-related study characteristics, no significant reduction in mortality risk was observed for low-volume drinkers."

In addition, according to the National Cancer Institute:
Based on extensive reviews of research studies, there is a strong scientific consensus of an association between alcohol drinking and several types of cancer (1, 2). In its Report on Carcinogens, the National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services lists consumption of alcoholic beverages as a known human carcinogen. The research evidence indicates that the more alcohol a person drinks—particularly the more alcohol a person drinks regularly over time—the higher his or her risk of developing an alcohol-associated cancer. Based on data from 2009, an estimated 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States (about 19,500 deaths) were alcohol related (3).
Clear patterns have emerged between alcohol consumption and the development of the following types of cancer:
• Head and neck cancer: Alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for certain head and neck cancers, particularly cancers of the oral cavity (excluding the lips), pharynx (throat), and larynx (voice box) (4). People who consume 50 or more grams of alcohol per day (approximately 3.5 or more drinks per day) have at least a two to three times greater risk of developing these cancers than nondrinkers (4). Moreover, the risks of these cancers are substantially higher among persons who consume this amount of alcohol and also use tobacco (5).
• Esophageal cancer: Alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for a particular type of esophageal cancer called esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (2). In addition, people who inherit a deficiency in an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol have been found to have substantially increased risks of alcohol-related esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
• Liver cancer: Alcohol consumption is an independent risk factor for, and a primary cause of, liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) (6). (Chronic infection with hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus are the other major causes of liver cancer.)
• Breast cancer: More than 100 epidemiologic studies have looked at the association between alcohol consumption and the risk of breast cancer in women. These studies have consistently found an increased risk of breast cancer associated with increasing alcohol intake. A meta-analysis of 53 of these studies (which included a total of 58,000 women with breast cancer) showed that women who drank more than 45 grams of alcohol per day (approximately three drinks) had 1.5 times the risk of developing breast cancer as nondrinkers (a modestly increased risk) (7). The risk of breast cancer was higher across all levels of alcohol intake: for every 10 grams of alcohol consumed per day (slightly less than one drink), researchers observed a small (7 percent) increase in the risk of breast cancer.
The Million Women Study in the United Kingdom (which included more than 28,000 women with breast cancer) provided a more recent, and slightly higher, estimate of breast cancer risk at low to moderate levels of alcohol consumption: every 10 grams of alcohol consumed per day was associated with a 12 percent increase in the risk of breast cancer (8).
• Colorectal cancer: Alcohol consumption is associated with a modestly increased risk of cancers of the colon and rectum. A meta-analysis of 57 cohort and case-control studies that examined the association between alcohol consumption and colorectal cancer risk showed that people who regularly drank 50 or more grams of alcohol per day (approximately 3.5 drinks) had 1.5 times the risk of developing colorectal cancer as nondrinkers or occasional drinkers (9). For every 10 grams of alcohol consumed per day, there was a small (7 percent) increase in the risk of colorectal cancer.
Research on alcohol consumption and other cancers:
Numerous studies have examined the association between alcohol consumption and the risk of other cancers, including cancers of the pancreas, ovary, prostate, stomach, uterus, and bladder. For these cancers, either no association with alcohol use has been found or the evidence for an association is inconsistent.
However, for two cancers—renal cell (kidney) cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)—multiple studies have shown that increased alcohol consumption is associated with a decreased risk of cancer (10, 11). A meta-analysis of the NHL studies (which included 18,759 people with NHL) found a 15 percent lower risk of NHL among alcohol drinkers compared with nondrinkers (11). The mechanisms by which alcohol consumption would decrease the risks of either renal cell cancer or NHL are not understood.
How does alcohol increase the risk of cancer?
Researchers have identified multiple ways that alcohol may increase the risk of cancer, including:
• metabolizing (breaking down) ethanol in alcoholic drinks to acetaldehyde, which is a toxic chemical and a probable human carcinogen; acetaldehyde can damage both DNA (the genetic material that makes up genes) and proteins
• generating reactive oxygen species (chemically reactive molecules that contain oxygen), which can damage DNA, proteins, and lipids (fats) through a process called oxidation
• impairing the body’s ability to break down and absorb a variety of nutrients that may be associated with cancer risk, including vitamin A; nutrients in the vitamin B complex, such as folate; vitamin C; vitamin D; vitamin E; and carotenoids
• increasing blood levels of estrogen, a sex hormone linked to the risk of breast cancer
Alcoholic beverages may also contain a variety of carcinogenic contaminants that are introduced during fermentation and production, such as nitrosamines, asbestos fibers, phenols, and hydrocarbons.

May 25, 2016 - 10:37am
EmpowHER Guest

Women should be aware that alcohol causes 7 types of cancer - including breast cancer. It is a group 1 carcinogen- just like tobacco, asbestos and formaldehyde. See the American Cancer Society website or any national or international cancer advocacy website for more information.

When it comes to cancer, many new studies have shown that for women, there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.

Alcohol is NOT a health product. The American Heart Association website says it does not recommend anyone drink wine or any other type of alcohol for perceived cardiovascular benefits.

May 24, 2016 - 9:18pm
(reply to Anonymous)

There is ample evidence that women who drink wine (mostly red) in moderation live longer and are healthier than nondrinkers and heavy drinkers. In terms of cancer risk, alcohol is better described as a co-carcinogen; the compounds in red wine on the other hand are potent anti-cancer agents. Details and references here: http://healthandwine.blogspot.com/

May 25, 2016 - 9:48am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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