Health permission to enjoy a tantalizing glass of wine? Yes, please!

While wine has an impressive history of being used for medicinal purposes and has long been hailed for its health benefits, the good news keeps coming. Science is consistently adding more data that supports why our favorite beverage — when consumed in moderation — can help us live healthier and longer lives.

Today we are exploring the benefits of resveratrol – one of the antioxidants found in red wine – which is a new wellness star based on its potential to boost cardiovascular health, help protect against certain cancers and improve skin conditions like acne, among many other benefits.

Resveratrol is a compound that is produced by some plants to fight off bacteria, infection, fungi and ultraviolet radiation. The good news for wine lovers is that this compound is found in our favorite fruit — red grapes. (And other sources that include blueberries, raspberries, mulberries and peanuts…but those aren’t quite as exciting, now, are they?)

Here are just a few of the ways that resveratrol boosts our evening sip:

Good for your heart  

Many studies over the years have tied drinking wine, especially red wine, with heart benefits. Resveratrol shows promise to raise levels of omega-3 fatty acids in plasma and red blood cells, helping keep a positive cholesterol balance in our blood by decreasing the “bad cholesterol.” This protects against plaque buildup in your arteries that can lead to heart attacks or strokes.

According to the Mayo Clinic, resveratrol also helps prevent damage to blood vessels and could be linked to a lower risk of inflammation, also identified as sources of heart disease. And the good news doesn’t end there. Additional studies have found that this power-house compound helps maintain normal blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels.

Good for the brain 

According to studies by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, resveratrol may also help protect the brain from stroke damage by increasing levels of heme oxygenase. This enzyme is known to protect nerve cellsin the brain from damage, and thus the brain may be better protected should a stroke occur.

Some experts have also linked resveratrol with enhanced memory and brain health. This compound has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, which helps this important organ get more oxygen, glucose and other nutrients that enhance our ability to think clearly, maintain a healthy memory and stay focused. 

Good for allergies 

Last, but not least – and especially timely for the current season — red wine has been shown to help alleviate allergies. While this is thanks to another important antioxidant found in red wine, flavonoids, we wanted to include it for all our fellow wine lovers who suffer from seasonal allergies. According to a recent review of nearly 80 studies published in the journal Diseases, research suggests that flavonoids can reduce allergy and asthma symptoms.

Given red wine’s potential ability to protect our heart and brain and even reduce allergies, oenophiles have one more reason to rejoice. It’s little wonder one of the most popular toasts is “To your health!”

Cheers, indeed!