Alcohol is a double edged sword in the nutrition world. A little enjoyment each day has shown positive benefits in mental well-being such as reduced stress while also improving physical health by lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. There can however be “too much of a good thing” and drinking too much alcohol can hinder cardiovascular health by damaging heart muscles. Excessive alcohol consumption can also limit the effectiveness of white blood cells in the body which are responsible for keeping bacterial invaders at bay.
A recent study however has shown a positive relationship between the moderate consumption of red wine and management of type 2 diabetes.The study consisted of 224 participatents between ages 40 to 75 over a two year period consisting of alcohol abstaining type 2 diabetics that had their diabetes under control. They were randomly assigned to 150 ml of mineral water (control), white wine, or red wine with dinner for two years with wines and mineral water being provided by the study. All groups in this study followed a Mediterranean diet without restrictions on caloric intake. 87% of participants completed the trial with 80% drinking their daily dose of wine.
The results revealed that high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol – the good kind of cholesterol – was increased significantly through the consumption of red wine while also having a more beneficial cholesterol ratio compared to the group that only drank mineral water. Participants that were in the wine group also had improved quality of sleep. This study suggests that moderate consumption of red wine among well controlled diabetics can be part of a healthy diet and is not only safe but also helps to modestly decrease cardio-metabolic risk.
Red wine contains a number of unique antioxidants that are hard to obtain through other sources. The alcohol in red wine also helps to manage post-meal spikes in blood sugar by absorbing the sugar and calories in the meal.