Red wine has a number of potential health benefits when consumed in moderation. The merlot varietal contains several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The antioxidants in red wine may have heart-healthy benefits, in addition to the possible health benefits of moderate alcohol intake in general.
While merlot and other red wines are not conclusively more healthful than other varieties of alcohol, occasional consumption is shown to be healthy.
There are about 122 calories in a 5-ounce glass of merlot, which also contains 3.69 grams of carbohydrates, 0.91 grams of sugar, 0.10 grams of protein and no fat or fiber. The same serving size packs 12 milligrams of calcium, 0.68 milligrams of iron, 187 milligrams of potassium, 6 milligrams of sodium and 0.21 milligrams of zinc. Merlot also contains small amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B6.
Health Benefits of Red Wine
Red wine, such as merlot, contains resveratrol, which has gained attention by researchers for potentially promoting heart health, though MayoClinic.com reports there’s still no clear evidence red wine has additional health benefits over other forms of alcohol. Resveratrol is a polyphenol compound with antioxidant properties known to protect the lining of blood vessels in the heart. Research suggests resveratrol may also protect against obesity and diabetes, risk factors for heart disease. A study conducted at Purdue University found the compound piceatannol in red wine, which is similar in structure to resveratrol, could actually block the cellular process that allows fat cells to form in the body.
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Health Benefits of Alcohol
Alcohol, in general, is also thought to raise good cholesterol, reduce blood clot formation and prevent artery damage when consumed in moderation. Moderate alcohol consumption may also reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and gallstones. It’s possible that alcohol may not be beneficial to everyone who drinks, and moderate alcohol use may only be of aid to older individuals or those already at risk of disease. For younger people, even moderate alcohol consumption could harm more than it helps.
Drinking Wine Safely
While alcohol may have some healthful properties, it should only be consumed in moderation. It’s recommended women drink, at most, one 4-ounce glass of wine a day. Men should only drink at most one to two 4-ounces glasses of wine. Drinking more than the American Heart Association’s recommendations can lead to serious health complications, including alcoholism, increased blood pressure, cancer, obesity, and stroke. People who do not drink should not start just to obtain health benefits, as many of these benefits can be found in other foods as well. Those with serious health conditions, for instance existing heart trouble, should avoid alcohol altogether or consult a doctor about whether it’s safe to drink.
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