Let’s face it, wine is just one of those drinks that’s always there when you need it. It’s comforting after a long day working, it’s the perfect finishing touch to any charcuterie board, and during a time like right now when you can’t really go out to a bar or restaurant, it can still make you feel like you’re living somewhat normally. Plus, it lasts for a while, so again, it’s not bad to have some bottles on hand when you’re staying inside. But what happens if you’re drinking wine every night?
You’ve mostly heard in one way or another that a glass of wine every day can actually be good for your overall health, but some recent studies have argued that it’s better to avoid drinking the vino on a regular basis. So what actually happens to your health if you drink a glass of wine every night? Are there real health benefits? Or are there consequences in the long run?
We’re asking the tough questions here, as there’s a good chance you just might end up drinking wine every night you’re staying put at home! And while you’re making healthier choices, here are The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
First—how much is considered one full glass of wine?
Before we explore the risks and benefits of drinking a glass of wine every night, let’s get on the same page about what exactly is one glass. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, one drink is 5 ounces of wine (also 12 ounces of beer and 1.5 ounces of liquor) in the U.S. Unfortunately, this means that buying a bigger wine glass won’t change our serving size for the evening.
OK, so what happens if you’re drinking a glass of wine every night?
In the last couple of years, gut health has been outed as one of the most important ways to stay healthy. Known as the “second brain,” your gut can affect the state of your digestion, organs, and even your mental health. In fact, the gut microbiota is now seen as “an important partner of human cells, interacting with virtually all human cells.”
In a study done by the American Gastroenterology Journal, research revealed that red wine intake done in moderation overall benefits your gut. This is mainly due to a couple of large, confusing words known as antimicrobials and polyphenols. Red wine contains a lot of polyphenols, which are natural chemicals containing antimicrobial properties. And antimicrobials are agents that help balance out the natural microbiome of the gut.
Whether or not red wine can help with heart health is a common discussion among health experts and wine lovers alike. Overall, research shows that moderate intake of red wine (no more than one glass a day) does, in fact, have some cardiovascular benefits.
In a study done by the Canadian Journal of Clinical Nutrition, results found that the polyphenols found in red wine that we discussed earlier also have numerous benefits on coronary blood flow and heart health. Polyphenols are proven to have “vaso-relaxing effects on the coronary microvessels,” which in other words, means the natural chemicals found in red wine can help relax our blood vessels, aiding in the prevention of blood clots and other cardiovascular issues.
Red wine also raises levels of lipoproteins (HDL), also known as “good cholesterol.” And according to Harvard School of Public Health, higher levels of HDLs are often correlated to a better chance of protecting yourself against cardiovascular disease.
So it’s not always rainbows and sunshine, right? Alcohol can mess with our natural circadian rhythm, aka our body’s natural clock, even in small doses. A study done on sleep and alcohol by the National Institute of Health revealed that when we drink even a moderate amount of alcohol, our bodies go through a “rebound effect.” This effect essentially is your body’s way of adjusting to the alcohol present while it’s still trying to sleep normally during the first half of your slumber. The alcohol takes about 4-5 hours to leave your system, which means that the sleep disruption you do experience during the second half of the night is the alcohol making its way out of your body.
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Wine is a comforting, delicious drink to have at the end of the day and when you might be feeling stressed or anxious during times of uncertainty. But it’s important to not forget that alcohol, even in small doses, can be an addictive substance. And with substances like alcohol, it can sometimes be easier than we think to develop a dependence.
Rick Grugza, an epidemiologist who has been studying alcohol use for years, has found that drinking in larger quantities is steadily on the rise. Many epidemiologists and health experts believe that this could be because of the culture surrounding drinking: the after-work happy hours multiple times a week, or the multiple glasses a night to relieve stress at home. As with anything in life, moderation is key, so it’s important to just be aware of how much you’re drinking throughout your week and how it’s impacting your life, day-to-day.
So, can you keep drinking a daily glass of wine?
The simple answer: yes! The not-so-simple answer: it’s ultimately up to you. Research still supports the idea that light to moderate amounts of red wine (one glass per night) have mostly beneficial or neutral effects on our health.
Overall, even if red wine can have some positive effects on your body, but it’s not a habit you need to start if you don’t already drink. Eating healthy and staying active are always the go-to but if you happen to enjoy a glass of wine too, there’s nothing wrong with that either. Moderation is key! And if you’ve ever wondered, Should You Stop Drinking Alcohol to Lose Weight?, we’ve settled that debate for you, too.