Every wonderful benefit of drinking one glass of wine a day

Wine is wonderful, and it's no secret that opening up your favorite bottle and pouring yourself a glass after a long, impossible day makes everything feel at least a little better. We're happy to tell you, it's not just your imagination. There have been a ton of studies done on whether or not that glass of wine is doing good things for you, and it is! So pour a glass of wine, and let's talk about all the good things you're doing by drinking it.

It might lower your risk of a heart attack

According to The Mayo Clinic, the mechanics of exactly how red wine helps improve your heart health aren't entirely understood, but they are there. It's thought some compounds in red wine — like resveratrol, antioxidants, and flavonoids — actually work to protect the blood vessels in your heart from damage. 

You'll be hearing this caveat a lot when it comes to drinking wine for the benefits: moderation is key. A joint study from the University of Cambridge and University College London found that heavy drinkers actually increased their chances of developing heart problems, including cardiac arrest and heart failure. Moderation, moderation, moderation!

It could help you fight depression

If you're certain that post-work glass of wine provides you with a much-needed mental boost, you might just be right.

In 2013, researchers from Spain (including representatives from the University of Navarra), released the results of a study that looked at the link between alcohol consumption and depression (via the NHS). Participants were assigned categories based on their alcohol intake, and wine-drinkers were further separated into five groups based on how much they drank. Even after taking into account other influencing factors (like marital status and physical activity levels), they found people who drank between two and seven glasses of wine a week were 32 percent less likely to suffer from depression.

Even though they stressed the study doesn't indicate just what's going on here, they also noted heavy drinkers were more likely to suffer depressive episodes, again signifying that going overboard isn't going to do you any favors.

It might help control or lower your risk for diabetes

Our first study comes from Ben Gurion University in Israel. Results of the two-year study were released in 2015, and according to NPR, researchers were interested in the effects alcohol would have on people who already had high blood sugar levels. Participants all ate the same food but drank different beverages. At the end of the study, those who drank red or white wine showed serious improvements in their blood sugar levels (and red wine drinkers also showed an improvement in their cholesterol levels).

More good news came from a study published in 2017 (via Time), and this one had tracked data from 70,000 adults over the course of five years. Researchers were specifically looking at the development of Type 2 diabetes, and found men who had around 14 drinks a week lowered their risk of diabetes by 43 percent, while women who had at least 9 drinks each week lowered their risk by 58 percent. How those drinks were staggered made a difference, too, with drinking three or four days a week seeming to have the biggest impact on lowering risk. Bottoms up!

It can boost your immune system

Looking for another way to help fight winter flu and spring colds? Pour yourself a glass of wine!

According to a study done by the University of California's School of Medicine (via The Telegraph), drinking a glass of wine a day can give your immune system a serious boost. The study was performed on rhesus monkeys who were allowed to choose for themselves how much alcohol they drank, and the moderate drinkers of the group were much more resistant to smallpox — even though they were all vaccinated.

The 2013 study supported the findings of a 2007 study done in Madrid. They also found that moderate drinking habits increased the immune system's ability to fight off disease, and let's be honest: it's better than adding an extra orange to two to your diet.

It will boost your omega-3 fatty acid levels

You hear about the importance of omega-3 fatty acids a lot, and that's because they're crucial to cell function. Harvard's The Nutrition Source says they're essential for things like maintaining cellular integrity and the production of hormones, and since we can't manufacture these building blocks ourselves, we need to get them from food.

Or wine, says a 2008 joint study between universities in Italy and France (via Science Daily). Researchers found moderate alcohol consumption (two glasses a day for men and one for women) was linked to higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in blood plasma and red blood cells. When they went a step further to try to determine whether or not any particular type of alcohol had an advantage over others, they found wine had the biggest positive impact. They believe that's because of wine's polyphenol content, but whatever causes it, it's one more reason to open the vino.

It could help lower your risk of stroke

If you're not intimately familiar with how and why strokes happen, you might not know there are different kinds. Ischaemic stroke happens when a clot forms and cuts off blood flow, and it's the risk of these types of strokes that's lowered by wine. According to research from the Karolinska Institutet and the University of Cambridge (via The Telegraph), light drinking (which is defined as a small glass of wine) can lower the risk of ischaemic strokes by around 10 percent.

That's good news, but this is a tricky one. There's no indication your glass of wine is going to help protect you against any other types of stroke, and there's more evidence that moderate to heavy drinking will actually increase your risk. A study published in the journal Stroke in 2015 (via The Telegraph) found age and quantity played an important role in stroke risk. Study participants who had a 250 ml glass of wine daily had a 34 percent greater risk of stroke, especially those in their 50s and 60s. Cutting the amount in half reduces the risk, and that's the kind of fine print you have to be sure to read.

It might just be good for your skin

Want radiant, youthful skin? Put down the creams and pick up a glass. According to Caudalie spa director Regine Berthelot (via Refinery 29), free radicals are one of the big causes of wrinkles and lines. What protects us against those? Resveratrol! The science is still out on how much of an impact the resveratrol you drink in wine has on your skin, but it can't hurt, right?

Especially since there's other science out there suggesting red wine is good for your skin. In 2011, a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (via CBS News) found the flavonoids in red wine help keep our cells from forming reactive oxygen species. These little guys are the things in our skin that have a nasty reaction to UV rays and lead to sunburns. While a glass of red wine isn't going to replace sunscreen, it's likely it can help keep our skin cells healthy and protected from sun damage. And, for some more good news, we can look to a study in the journal Dermatology and Therapy that found resveratrol also acts as an antimicrobial that targets acne-causing bacteria. Win!

It might help you lower your cholesterol

No matter how healthy you are, cholesterol is one of those things that's always a concern. Fortunately, there's a ton of information out there on how drinking a glass of wine every day can help you manage your cholesterol, so let's look at a couple.

In 2006, research from the Curtin University of Technology (via Atherosclerosis) not only confirmed red wine could help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, but also found it could lower bad cholesterol even in people who were already at high risk for developing heart problems. That's huge, and it's been backed up by studies done in 2010 and 2012 (via SFGate). These studies found red wine's resveratrol and polyphenols are, once again, what's responsible for helping to keep bad cholesterol low while raising levels of good cholesterol. Studies also agree it's only moderate wine consumption that helps manage cholesterol, and guidelines specify that's only 5 ounces for women and 10 for men.

It could help keep your eyes healthy

Red wine is full of surprising benefits, and while you may have heard it's great for your heart, less publicized is the fact it can help keep your eyes healthy, too. According to a five-year study from researchers in Reykjavik (via the Review of Optometry), resveratrol also helps prevent the development of cataracts and keep the crystalline lenses in your eyes healthy and clear. In fact, drinking a moderate amount of red wine has been suggested to have a number of positive effects on eye health and vision. Studies have shown your daily glass helps prevent against macular degeneration — the main cause of age-related vision problems — as well as help maintain the health of the retina and corneas, prevent tumors, and encourage overall eye health. That's a benefit we can all get behind!

It could help protect you against dementia and Parkinson's

I think we can all agree that dementia is a terrifying diesease. That evening glass of wine might be helping you ward off age-related memory deterioration, at least, that's according to Texas A&M (via The Independent). Once again, it's resveratrol that's responsible for increasing blood flow to the parts of the brain responsible for memory, and it was also credited with decreasing inflammation and, over time, boosting spatial learning.

Further research done in 2016 suggests those same compounds might also be crucial in fighting off diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Work done by researchers at the University of Malta (via Parkinson's News Today) suggests the flavonoids in red wine can help protect the neurons in your brain as well as prevent the buildup of toxic chemicals ultimately responsible for the deterioration seen in both diseases. Again, the study saw the most success with light to moderate drinkers, so this is another case where more isn't better.

It could help you maintain healthy bone density

Anyone who's ever broken a bone will probably say it's not an experience they'd care to repeat. Fortunately, that glass of red wine is helping you there, too.

A study done by Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark (via Medical Daily) found that not only does resveratrol help stimulate the formation of new bone cells, but that it makes such a difference it might even be a viable treatment for those diagnosed with osteoporosis. Over the course of a 16-week treatment (with resveratrol, not red wine), study participants increased their bone density by an average of 2.6 percent. That's huge, especially since bone density isn't just connected to osteoporosis. It's linked to everything from obesity and high blood sugar to heart disease, and the idea we may have found a powerful tool in the fight to stay healthy is seriously awesome.

It could boost testosterone levels

Red wine might not have a reputation as the most manly of alcoholic drinks, but according to Kingston University (via Science Daily), drinking it can give you a serious boost in testosterone levels.

Just how it works is a bit odd. You're not actually getting or producing more testosterone, you're retaining more of it. That's because of a chemical called quercetin. It's present in red wine, and it seems to change the way your body processes testosterone. Instead of excreting it, you keep more of it in your system and ultimately raise your levels.

Since most of the testing was originally done in a lab, it's still largely unknown just how this happens in a real-world human. But researchers think it's potentially a big deal, and went as far as reporting their findings to the World Anti-Doping Agency. Red wine isn't illegal, after all, but quercetin's ability to help the body retain testosterone has the potential to give athletes a serious advantage — whether they know it or not.