We’ve all heard about drinking a glass of wine a day in order to maintain a healthy heart, but now scientific studies are showing that wine could also be the key to fighting off depression. A study performed by a Spanish researcher team reveals that a moderate intake of wine could offer some form of protection against mental health problems and depression.
Wine has been shown to serve an antioxidant role in the human body. This is due to a number of key chemical components found within grapes — specifically: Catechin, epicatechin, proanthocyanidins (in grape seeds) and resveratrol (in grape skins) — working together to give wine cardioprotective abilities. There are also a few components of alcohol that are considered to be of some benefit.
No, We’re Not Talking About Drowning Your Sorrows
Dr. Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, chair of the Department of Preventative Medicine and Public Health at the University of Navarra, had the following to say about the benefits of alcohol and wine:
“One drink a day, preferentially wine, may help prevent depression… Depression and heart disease seem to share some common mechanisms because they share many similar protective factors and risk factors.”
For those depressed individuals who already consume alcohol, Dr Miguel recommends substituting other alcoholic beverages for wine to enjoy the health benefits it brings.
The study followed 5,500+ wine drinkers, who were categorised as either being either “light” or “moderate” drinkers. The study analysed their mental health and physical well-being. The participants, all aged between 50-80, were followed and monitored over a time span of seven years. None of the subjects had demonstrated any history of depression or alcohol-related issues before the study had began.
The results were interesting; participants who had a weekly intake of between 2 and 7 beverages were less likely to suffer from depression, relative to non-drinkers. Martinez-Gonzalez speculated that drinking red wine, containing compounds within the grapes, could impede inflammatory processes associated with mental illness and depression.
There’s also broader health benefits to wine, specifically:
Wine consumers experience an increase in high density lipoproteins (HDLs), which provides cardiovascular protection; this defense is bolstered by a concomitant elevation in the destruction of harmful low density lipoproteins (LDLs)… [A] study into the influence of resveratrol implicated the compound in its ability to reduce chronic inflammation, improve platelet function and prevent clogging of the arteries.
Wine is a little bit of a ‘superdrink‘, actually. It has been shown to prevent cardiovascular disease, as well as help with lung and prostate cancers. Certain studies claim that wine can also protect against Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and several infectious pathogens.
Please Drink Responsibly
It must be stressed, however, that moderation is still the key, and the results of this study are not an excuse to drink in excess. The study indicates that a single glass of red wine could help alleviate the symptoms of depression, while intense and persistent alcohol consumption can cause cirrhosis, neurological damage, reproductive issues, pancreatitis and an increased risk of developing various forms of cancer. Please drink responsibly.
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