For the most part, I find all of the national days dedicated to things like doughnuts and grilled cheese sandwiches kind of silly. But Feb. 18 is National Drink Wine Day and that is something I can seriously celebrate. (I know — I figured this was a daily commandment, too, but apparently I was wrong.) Not only is drinking wine basically a global pastime, there are also some incredible ways wine is good for you that make this holiday even more necessary.
Yep, you thought the day was invented just to get everyone drunk, but that's not quite the case. According to the website for National Drink Wine Day, the purpose of the celebration is to share the health benefits of wine, as well as spread the love of wine. And it makes sense. I mean, wine has been around since the beginning of time. There's got to be a reason why it's lasted, right? Archaeologists have even found traces of some kind of fermented fruit beverage on pottery sherds in China that date back to 7000-6600 BC. Can you imagine making your own wine? Actually, can you imagine inviting your girlfriends over back then to drink that wine? You just know that someone's probably going to put your clay pot on their head after a few too many glasses and there will be inappropriate heiroglyphics drawn on your walls.
They probably didn't know too many of these 11 benefits back then, but knowing them today means it's totally worth the effort of cleaning wine stains out of your favorite clay pitcher. (Or your IKEA couch cushions.) Just remember that it's all about moderation, no matter how great the benefits sound. Happy National Drink Wine Day!
1It Lowers Your Risk Of Stroke
After conducting a 16 year study, the Copenhagen City Heart Study found that indulging in wine on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis was associated with a lower risk of stroke compared to no wine consumption. Since beer and liquor did not lower the risk of a stroke, the study determined that it must be the compounds in wine, along with ethanol, that made the difference.
2It Promotes Longevity
So if you drink a ton of wine, you can basically become immortal! OK — not quite. But if you're a red wine drinker, listen up. A study found that resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, activates a protein that promotes longevity and health. The researchers even found that a similar pharmaceutical compound could potentially prevent diseases (and treat them) in the elderly.
3It Reduces Your Risk Of Depression
You think wine makes you happy, but a study done in Spain may give you even more proof. Researchers followed 5,500 light to moderate drinkers for seven years and found that those who drank between two and seven glasses of wine per week were less likely to be prone to depression than those who didn't drink. The researchers even considered other factors, like marital status and smoking, and found that their results were still solid, according to The Guardian.
4It Lowers Your Cholesterol
Everyday Health included red wine on a list of foods that promote lower cholesterol, and the research backs up the claim. Although alcohol has been found to raise your good cholesterol (HDL) levels by as much as five to 15 percent, red wine's polyphenol antioxidants can also lower your LDL levels, which account for the "bad" cholesterol. The Mayo Clinic notes that its the resveratrol compound in red wine that reduces your LDL. (That compound's pretty handy, right?)
5It Improves Short-Term Memory
I think we all know that too much wine can ruin your memory of the night, but in moderation, your favorite glass of red can actually improve your short-term memory. A 2014 study found that consuming resveratrol actually improved memory performance and word retention.
6It Reduces Your Risk Of Heart Disease
You've probably heart that red wine can reduce your risk of heart disease, but the reason why is pretty fascinating. Research published in the Circulation journal of the American Heart Association determined that both the alcohol and polyphenolic compounds in red wine have properties that limit the progression of fatty deposits clogging your arteries, and are anti-clotting.
7It Improves Your Skin
A study in the journal, Dermatology and Therapy found that the red wine compound reversatrol can stop the growth of acne-causing bacteria longer than benzoyl peroxide, a common ingredient in acne medications.
8It Lowers Your Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
It's all based off of moderation, but a study published in the American Diabetes Association's journal, Diabetes Care, found that there was around a 30 percent reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes in moderate drinkers.
9It Protects Your Teeth
Obviously you should keep brushing and flossing, but red wine apparently has antimicrobial strengths against the bacteria that causes gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss, according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
10It Protects You From Catching A Cold
Who needs chicken noodle soup? The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study conducted in Spain that observes the drinking habits and cold symptoms of 4,000 people for a year. At the end of the study, researchers found that those who drank mostly wine were less likely to come down with a cold than those who preferred beer or liquor and non-drinkers.
11It Regulates Your Blood Sugar Levels
Not only can wine prevent type 2 diabetes, but it can also help treat the disease for those who already have it. A study published in the journal, Annals of Internal Medicine followed 225 people with elevated blood sugar and their drinking habits. They all ate the same foods, but one group drank a glass of red wine each day, another had a glass of white, and the third group had only mineral water. The study found that the wine drinkers, when compared to the nondrinkers, had an improvement in their body's blood sugar control.
So raise your glass to wine — the drink that keeps on giving long after you've polished off that bottle.