When we were younger, we all heard the saying ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’, but as time passes, we sometimes find ourselves trading in that apple for a nice glass of red wine at the end of a long day. While some may just take it at face value, others seem to have taken it more to heart. Florence Bearse, a Bangor, Maine resident just had her 100th birthday on July 6th, 2017. How did she do it? She claims 2 major things have led her to reach such years: Not taking any ‘bologna’ and plenty of red wine.
“I like my wine. Don’t take it away from me,” she says.
Wine, What Is It Good For?
While we have no doubt that over her years, Florence has accumulated quite the amount of wisdom, but is she right when it comes to her enthusiasm for wine? Scientists would agree with her; they have been touting the health benefits of drinking wine for years and multiple studies have looked into those claims.
Drinking wine has been linked to reducing the risk of heart attack, type 2 diabetes, stroke, colon cancer, and more . Both red and white wine have been noted to have health benefits, so no need to worry about which wine is best.
True to her word, Florence enjoys a good glass of red. This video taken at her birthday actually shows her chugging her whole glass! While we do believe that moderation is key, there’s no harm in having a little fun here and there. It sure seems to have done Florence well!
Health Benefits of Red Wine
So how is it that alcohol can actually be good for you? It isn’t the alcohol in red wine that is good for you, but the resveratrol in it is. What is resveratrol? It’s a phytonutrient that is found in grapes, cranberries, blueberries, peanuts, and a whole bunch of other foods. Resveratrol functions in the body as an antioxidant nutrient, and it also functions like a phytoestrogen 
Because resveratrol functions like an antioxidant, it could be helpful in fighting off high blood pressure. A review done in 2015 found that high enough doses of resveratrol could help lessen the pressure put on artery walls when the heart beats. As bodies age, arteries stiffen creating the potential for heart attack. Resveratrol triggers the production of nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to relax .
A 2016 study fed mice a high-protein, high-polyunsaturated fat diet and also gave them resveratrol supplements. Researchers found that the average total cholesterol levels and body weight of the mice decreased, and their levels of “good” HDL cholesterol increased. Resveratrol worked to influence cholesterol levels by diminishing the effect of an enzyme that controls cholesterol production. As an antioxidant, resveratrol may also decrease the oxidation of “bad” LDL cholesterol, which can contribute to plaque buildup in artery walls .
Protects The Brain
Studies have suggested that drinking red wine can help slow down cognitive decline caused by aging. This the reason being the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of resveratrol. It was shown to interfere with protein fragments called beta-amyloids, which are what form the plaque that is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
Animal studies have shown resveratrol to have several benefits for diabetes. These benefits include increasing insulin sensitivity and preventing complications from diabetes. One reason resveratrol works is that it may stop a certain enzyme from turning glucose into sorbitol, which is a sugar alcohol.When too much sorbitol builds up in people with diabetes, it can create cell-damaging oxidative stress.
Joint Pain Relief
Arthritis is one of the most common chronic disease in America and it can lead to joint pain and loss of mobility. One study done on rabbits that had arthritis showed that, when used as a supplement, resveratrol can reduce the damage done to the cartilage in joints.
Suppresses Cancer Cells
In animal and test-tube studies, resveratrol has been shown to fight several kinds of cancer cells, including gastric, colon, skin, breast and prostate . It was shown to inhibit cancer cells from replicating and spreading in the body. It can also change the gene expression in cancer cells to stop them from growing. It was also shown to interfere with the way certain hormones are expressed, which could keep some hormone-dependent cancers from spreading.
With all that, it’s a wonder that more people don’t indulge in a glass more often. While this may sound great to many, it’s not the only way to receive the health benefits of resveratrol. Whole foods like blueberries and grapes, and supplements are the best way, and studies show that non-alcoholic wines have the same amount of resveratrol as regular wine .
Cheers Florence, to your health and to ours.
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