You've got to love stories about red wine being good for you! Researchers at Washington University in Missouri have found that drinking at least one glass of red wine per week boosts fertility in women, while other scientific research has also found it's good for your heart, your teeth and your brain.
The research at Washington University investigated how alcohol affects a woman’s ovarian reserve, which is the quantity, health and viability of her eggs, and found that five or more glasses of red wine a month had only a positive effect.
The component of red wine responsible for this beneficial effect is believed to be resveratrol, an antioxidant also found in red grapes, blueberries and cocoa. Resveratrol works by suppressing molecules which cause inflammation as well as compounds in the blood which interfere with the production of insulin, and could also contribute to long life.
Heart health benefits
You'll also be interested to know that the Australian Wine Research Institute (ok not a completely unbiased source!) has also recently extolled the virtues of red wine for cardiovascular health. Creina Stockley, a clinical pharmacologist and the manager of health and regulatory information at the institute says:
"People that drink a moderate amount of wine regularly, particularly with food, have a 30 per cent reduced risk of heart diseases.
"Red wine is good for you in moderation – with one to two glasses a day there is a reduced risk of heart disease. When you drink more than that, the risk of heart disease increases."
You can smile, red wine to good for your teeth!
Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry revealed red wine could protect against dental cavities with researchers suggesting the discovery could lead to the development of natural products to ward off dental diseases.
Gum disease and tooth loss affect an estimated 60-90% of the global population, the problems start when certain bacteria in the mouth get together and form biofilms, which are communities of bacteria that are difficult to kill. Previous research has already suggested that wine can slow the growth of bacteria, this prompted the research team to attempt to establish whether it could prevent cavities.
The scientists dipped cultures of bacteria responsible for dental diseases into various liquids, and found that red wine was the most effective at removing the bacteria.
Red wine keeps you mentally agile
Drinking a glass of wine a day can cut the chance of developing dementia by almost a third, according to researchers. The academics, led by Siegfried Wayerer of the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim in Germany published the results of their research in the journal Age and Ageing.
They found those who drank between two and three units a day were 29% less likely to have started developing dementia by the end of the three-year period than those who were teetotal. The results for Alzheimer's, which accounts for two-thirds of dementia cases, were even more striking as such drinkers were 42% less likely to have developed the disease.
The researchers believe alcoholic drinks could work to stave off dementia in a number of ways.The alcohol itself could work by lowering cholesterol levels, stopping blood from clotting too much and improving insulin sensitivity to blood sugar levels. The non-alcoholic elements may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and vaso-relaxant (blood vessel relaxant) properties.
This is not a green light to hit the bottle - the authors noted that prolonged heavy drinking is thought to be responsible for about one in 10 cases of dementia. In Britain about 750,000 people are thought to suffer from dementia, although less than half has received a diagnosis. The number is expected to top one million by 2021.
Not all grapes are created equal
Not all grapes are created equal - white wine contains resveratrol but not as much as red and scientists believe Pinot Noir grapes have the highest concentration of the compound. Remember, always drink responsibly.
A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.