Is there anything more relaxing than coming home after a long, hellish day at work and cracking open a bottle of Cabernet while you lounge on the couch? It’s the ultimate way to chillax, and now science proves that red wine really does relieve stress.
If science says it’s true, it must be. The study comes from researchers at the University of Buffalo in NY and the Xuzhou Medical University in China, who concluded that having a glass of red physically reduces stress, and it all comes down to one particular ingredient.
It’s all about resveratrol. The plant compound resveratrol, which is abundant in red wine, has long been lauded for its potential anti-aging abilities, but now it’s been revealed that it could help block stress-related enzymes in the brain. Resveratrol is found in the skin and seeds of grapes and berries and was found to have a special relationship with phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), the enzyme which influences the production of the stress response hormone corticosterone.
Resveratrol lowers stress hormones. “Resveratrol displayed neuroprotective effects against corticosterone by inhibiting the expression of PDE4,” the study confirmed. This means a glass or two of red wine every now and then can literally reduce your body’s production of stress hormones and make you feel way more relaxed.
It’s good for anxiety and depression, as well. Resveratrol doesn’t just make you feel less stressed after a long day, it can lower anxiety and depression symptoms on a more long-term basis as well. “Resveratrol may be an effective alternative to drugs for treating patients suffering from depression and anxiety disorders,” says Ying Xu, MD, one of the study’s co-lead authors.
Ultimately, more research is needed. While the finding here are generally positive, it’s not quite that simple. We also know that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to addiction as well as many health issues such as liver disease, heart disease, and even death. There’s no real issue with having an occasional glass of wine, but you should still watch your intake.
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