Good health doesn’t have to mean punishing yourself at the gym or eating rabbit food. Often, the everyday self-care rituals we take pleasure in – from relaxing with a good book to soaking in a hot tub – can also be beneficial for our health.
Another such beneficial indulgence is drinking red wine. Specifically, researchers are keen to highlight the benefits of drinking red wine before bed. It seems, then, that you were onto something all along with your favorite way to unwind in the evening after a long day at work!
But what are the benefits of red wine exactly? And why is it better to indulge in a glass of Pinot Noir before bed than at any other time of the day? Keep reading to find out.
Increases Good HDL Cholesterol
During a two-year trial, researchers from Israel’s Ben-Gurion University studied moderate wine drinking. But, all their participants had type-2 diabetes. People with type-2 diabetes are more likely to have lower levels of HDL cholesterol than the general population.
None of the participants were wine-drinkers before the study. But as part of the trial, they had to start drinking either a 5-ounce glass of red wine, white wine, or water with dinner. All the participants also followed a Mediterranean diet, although with no calorie restrictions.
One of the key findings showed that the red wine group increased their levels of good HDL cholesterol to a significant extent. At the end of the study, they also had a more beneficial cholesterol ratio than the group who drank water.
Red wine contains high levels of certain polyphenols, including resveratrol, catechins, and tannins. These are what contribute to the most well-known red wine benefits – its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Because of these properties, one of the best reasons to drink red wine with a meal is the way it reduces insulin resistance. After a large meal, your blood sugar spikes. But if you pair that meal with a glass of red wine, your blood sugar peak will be around 30 percent lower than the same meal without the wine.
This post-meal sugar spike is the main source of inflammation in the American lifestyle. Inflammation is a contributory factor in everything from heart disease to dementia. But, red wine’s anti-inflammatory properties allow your body to process the calories better. This then stops the inflammation from taking hold.
But, some wines have more antioxidants and better anti-inflammatory properties than others. Pinot Noir’s high levels of resveratrol make this one of the healthiest types of red wine. Likewise, its high antioxidant level makes Sagrantino a healthy option to pour from one of your decorative wine decanters.
Reduces Components of Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome refers to a cluster of conditions that can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes. These conditions include abnormal LDL cholesterol levels, hypertension, and excess abdomen fat.
Since the Israeli study’s participants already had type-2 diabetes, they likely had some of these conditions. They would have also had a greater chance of developing metabolic syndrome than average. But, one of the benefits experienced by the red wine group was a significant reduction in the components of metabolic syndrome.
Researchers into the benefits of drinking red wine believe that the chemical ellagic acid may play a role here. The ellagic acid in red wine slows down the growth of fat cells, supports the metabolism of fatty acids found in liver cells, and reduces appetite. What’s more, ellagic acid also helps lower blood pressure, helping to lessen the risk of this key component of metabolic syndrome.
Improves Sleep Quality
Another key finding in the Israeli study into the benefits of red wine relates to reported lifestyle improvements. In particular, the two groups who drank a glass of wine with their evening meal experienced better sleep quality.
It is important to note that the alcohol in one small glass of wine would have a relaxing effect on the mind and body. But, it would not promote the kind of drowsiness and sleep interruptions that can come from excessive drinking.
Instead, the main reason red wine benefits sleep quality is due to the melatonin it contains. One glass of red wine at night enhances your body’s melatonin release. As a result, red wine helps promote a restful night of sleep.
Boosts Your Mood
If you needed yet more reasons to drink red wine, researchers have also found that a glass of the good stuff also helps to improve your mood. The 2014 study showed that participants who drank a glass of wine in an unpleasant environment reported the same level of mood improvement as participants who drank non-alcohol beverages in a more pleasant environment.
Long-term population research shows that drinking red wine can lead to a longer life. But, these studies also stress the importance of enjoying a healthy nutrient-dense diet alongside a nightly glass of red wine.
In particular, following a Mediterranean-style diet is the best way to strengthen the effects of resveratrol. So, for a long and healthy life, eat plenty of good fats and fiber-rich foods while you indulge.
Enjoy the Benefits of Drinking Red Wine Before Bed
As this list shows, the benefits of drinking red wine before bed are both extensive and impressive. Although, before you finish off that bottle of Merlot, all the findings point to the fact that moderation is key.
In particular, the best way to enjoy the many red wine benefits we’ve outlined is to enjoy your daily glass with a healthy evening meal. Add a relaxed, social setting into the mix and you have all the necessary ingredients to improving your health and happiness.
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