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The Surprising Benefits of Wine All Require Self-Control

Written by Madeline Puckette

What you should be drinking (and how much) to promote a healthy wine lifestyle. Turns out, if you stick to the moderate drinker lifestyle there are some major benefits.

It feels like all of our favorite foods are on the chopping block. For example, if you eat meat, you’ll make more green house gasses than driving a car; if you eat soy, you’ll get cancer; if you eat gluten, you’ll be sickly your whole life; and if you drink alcohol, you’ll become addicted and kill people in motor accidents. All the statistics point to these conclusions and they’re not wrong. But there is hope, if you practice moderation. In fact, it’s the secret to being skinny, happy and wise…


A new study suggests that oak-aged wines contain a type of acid that could reduce fatty liver in humans.

Wine will make you skinny

Oak-aged wines may help with weight control

Remember all those amazing headlines saying that drinking wine can help you lose weight? We did some research and asked scientist Neil Shay about his recent study showing that ellagic acid in wine helps reduce fatty liver (a leading cause of obesity and not being able to lose weight). Turns out, ellagic acid is not chemically present in 99.9% wine. However, it does transfer into wine in the form of ellagitannin from oak barrels! The longer the exposure to oak, the more ellagic acid is dissolved into wine. So basically, drinking a glass of well-oaked wine may help reduce the affect fatty-liver has on health problems (like obesity). Pass me the Gran Reserva Rioja…

If you feel like you’re having a better time when you’re having a drink.. turns out, there’s a chemical thing happening in your brain.

Wine will make you happy

Alcohol releases serotonin, dopamine and opioid peptides into your brain

Chemically speaking, alcohol stimulates the release of several neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine, and opioid peptides. These natural brain chemicals will produce pleasurable feelings like euphoria, reward, and well-being. The good news is that if you practice moderate drinking, you will feel this chemical release every time you have a drink. If you over-drink however (or are on special meds) you can deplete your dopamine and serotonin levels, and it can actually lead to depression. So again, it’s important to practice moderation.

Are you wise enough for wine? Apparently those with healthy diets who drink wine have slower cognitive decline.

Wine will make you wise

Wine delays cognitive decline in aging adults

People with a healthy, red wine habit have a great potential to prevent or delay cognitive decline with aging. A 2014 study tested 7,153 men and women, with a mean age of 56, on attention, learning, and memory over a course of 10 years. Surprisingly, women drinkers performed better than abstainers in both learning and attention.

It’s important to note that the people who drank wine also ate healthier foods, were better educated, exercised more, and held a healthier body-weight. So… basically, drinking red wine is part of an overall healthier lifestyle. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that the people who drank over their natural limit had the highest decline of brain power of the group. Yep, moderation is key.

How much wine should I drink?

The good news is you can drink wine everyday, just not quite as much as you might be accustomed. Also, it doesn’t seem to matter too much if you prefer red, white or rosé.

Moderate Drinking

  1. Women: 1 glass a day
  2. Men: 2 glasses a day

A glass of wine is 5 oz (~150 ml)

If you find that you drink more than this in a single day, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism advises that women should have no more than 3 drinks in a single day (a 24 hour period) and men should have no more than 4 drinks per day. They also suggest that consumption all week should be no more than 7 drinks per week for women and no more than 14 for men.

Is Moderate Drinking Possible?

We’ve been trying to maintain moderate drinking behavior at Wine Folly for years. For this article, I paid attention to my drinking habits for 3 weeks and realized that moderation actually comes quite naturally. When done right it feels like the perfect wine high and, after doing the research, I can see why. One of the easiest ways to change your behavior (and reduce your consumption) is to serve yourself in half-glass (3 oz/75 ml) portions. Live long and prosper… dude.

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Written byMadeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly

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