If you’ve ever thought that wine cures all, you might not be far off. As it turns out, you’ve got plenty of science on your side. So the next time you’re sipping on your favorite red, toast to yourself, because your boozing’s actually pretty beneficial -- and here’s all the science to back it up.
It makes you happier... duh.
But apart from the pure joy you get while drinking it, red wine may actually fight depression. Moderate alcohol consumption generally helps ward off depression, but researchers found that wine had the strongest effect, possibly because this study took place in Spain, but more likely because wine will solve all of your troubles.
It crushes colds
Drink red wine and never catch a cold! Kind of! Resveratrol -- a polyphenol that’s found in the skin of red grapes -- is responsible for this effect, as it works with vitamin D to bolster a type of gene that plays a part in immune function. Another study suggests that moderate alcohol consumption can also act as an immunity booster, and these are scientists saying it, so you know it’s true. Those scientists discovered this by giving monkeys 22-hour-a-day access to booze, so they must be really smart to have secured funding for that experiment.
It’s good for your heart
It turns out that the heart is a pretty important organ, and red wine helps protect it. Not only does it increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind) in people with type 2 diabetes, but resveratrol (again) is good for any heart. Resveratrol prevents heart-disease-promoting inflammation, and reduces systolic blood pressure, which can slash the risk of stroke.
It makes you smarter
Sure, alcohol may have played a role in some of your dumber decisions, but drinking red wine may ultimately help improve memory and protect the brain. Resveratrol is at it again, with one study showing it may improve memory, and another suggesting it may help brain cells survive a stroke by hiking up the levels of a protective enzyme in the brain. You want to be smarter and happier, don’t you?
It can help you shed fat
Some folks (scientists, not just random people) at Oregon State found that dark-colored grapes caused existing fat cells to slow their growth, impeded the development of new ones, and amped up metabolism in the liver, all of which could help with obesity management, and are generally just cool tricks wine can pull.
It makes you look younger
Instead of having a cursed picture acquire all outward signs of aging, why not grab a glass of red wine? Polyphenols found in wine can protect your skin from the sun and its cancer- and wrinkle-causing ways. But probably don’t drink a bunch of wine in lieu of sunscreen if you’ll be outside for a while.
So what’s the catch?
As with anything that seems too good to be true, that glass of red doesn’t come without its caveats. First off, everyone’s least favorite word (moderation) comes into play here -- you’ll notice that many of the studies above found benefits, but only in those who drank in moderation. And that generally means one glass of wine for women per day and two glasses for men, so polishing off a bottle solo is sadly not the way to go.
“Red wine could be one of the healthier alcohols you can drink, but it’s something that should be sipped and savored and not just gulped down,” says dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix.
It’s also worth treating this research with a little common sense. Just because red wine will make you younger, smarter, slimmer, happier, and immune to all disease doesn’t mean you should treat it like a medicine, or believe that drinking more will help you soak up more benefits.
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.