For many of us wine lovers, one of our favorite moments is when we come back home after a long day and get to enjoy a glass of our favorite wine. Unfortunately, there are numerous causes that might generate stress these days, from our work to our personal life.
As we can all attest to, wine thankfully has several benefits to our physical and mental health, one of which is that wine can relieve stress and anxiety.
"Well, certainly," you might say. "It's the booze!" you could say, but you might be surprised to learn that this is not the only cause.
What is in Wine that Relieves Stress?
Grapes, and subsequently wine, contain one not-so-secret ingredient, known as resveratrol, that can act as a natural relaxant. In this article, we will be discussing the science behind why wine helps us relax, so make sure to stay with us until the end, to find out why that happens. Don’t worry, we promise not to bore you with too much scientific jargon.
Let’s Talk About Wine and Resveratrol
Polyphenols are a large family of naturally occurring organic compounds that can be found in plant foods, like fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, tea, dark chocolate, and wine. Resveratrol is one of these compounds that has been found in more than 70 plant species. When it comes to grapes, it’s mostly found in thick-skinned grapes like Malbec, Petite Sirah, St. Laurent, Tempranillo, and Cabernet Sauvignon. . If you’re wondering what resveratrol looks like, here are some nice pictures of it.
What are the Benefits of Resveratrol in Wine?
Resveratrol is known for having several health benefits. Researchers have extensively studied the potential of resveratrol to reduce cardiovascular disease and act as an anticancer drug, antiviral treatment, and anti-inflammatory drug. Resveratrol is also able to interfere with many pathways in the early stages of depression and anxiety disorders, by slowing them down or even preventing them completely.
Recently, a study conducted in rats showed that the substance can help reduce signs of anxiety and depression by blocking the expression of an enzyme that is associated with the control of stress. The results were very promising, and human trials are expected to begin soon.
Resveratrol and Relaxing With Wine
Resveratrol also activates a stress-reducing protein, called PARP-1, that helps repair damaged cells and genes throughout the body. Wine consumption is thus a healthy strategy to defend the body from the inside out. Additionally, resveratrol helps the body's DNA and genes that increase longevity by mending them. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to say that consuming wine can extend your life.
What do Experts Say About Relaxing With Wine?
In 2017, a study was carried out by Kathryn Ashton et. al., to determine if different emotions are related to the consumption of different alcoholic drinks. The people who took part in this research were 29,836 individuals from 21 different countries, aged 18–34 years who reported consumption of beer, spirits, red and white wine in the previous 12 months and were residents in countries with more than 200 respondents.
Overall, as was expected, the results of the research showed that participants attributed different emotions to drinking different types of alcohol. In this article, we will mostly focus on the feelings associated with consuming wine, since it has the highest levels of resveratrol (particularly red wine). If you’re interested in learning about the different emotions that were felt by the participants when consuming different drinks, take a look at the table later in the article
Feeling "Relaxed" Drinking Wine
The most common positive feeling associated with drinking red wine was “relaxed” as over half of the participants (52.8%) reported it. Other positive feelings associated with drinking red wine was “confident” (27.88%) and “sexy” (25.20%). The positive feeling that was least associated with drinking red wine was “energized” (7.14%) but that is to be expected, as relaxed and energized is an impossible mix of feelings. The results also showed that drinking red wine was less likely to make participants develop negative feelings such as aggressiveness and restlessness, compared to other alcoholic beverages.
When it came to white wine, the percentages concerning the feelings of attractiveness and confidence were very close (28.27% and 23.73%), but participants felt way less relaxed (32.67%) and more energized (15.07%). The participants stated that they were less likely to feel aggressive and restless when drinking white wine as well.
After discussing the role of resveratrol earlier in the article, it comes as no surprise that such a high percentage stated that they felt relaxed when drinking red wine. While white wine and beer contain some amount of the substance, its presence is way higher in red grapes and, thus, red wines.
Does Whiskey Make You Aggressive?
Other very interesting and powerful observations from this study include the dramatic impact spirits have on negative emotional urges such as aggressiveness and restlessness. Spirits are also more commonly associated with feeling ill the next day. In fact, the consumption of spirits like whiskey caused people to feel aggressive urges twelve times more frequently than they did from consuming red wine. Restlessness and agitation were experienced five times more frequently during spirit consumption when compared with red wine. Finally, when the respondents consumed spirits, they were 2.5 times more likely to feel ill the next day.
It's Not Just Alcohol In Wine that is Relaxing
The results of this study show the significant favorable emotional benefits of red wine consumption when compared with other common alcoholic beverages. It’s not just the alcohol (ethanol) that helps you relax, but the other naturally occurring substances found in red wine can play an important role as well.
Ways to Relax With Wine
Drinking a glass of wine is definitely an enjoyable experience, there’s no denying that. But you don’t have to stick to the routine of sipping a glass of your favorite vino only during dinner or while watching your favorite series in front of a screen. Let’s have a look at some different and creative things you can do along with a glass of red, to help you relax even more.
Wine and Bubble Baths
We've all seen it in movies, and it does appear to be calming. After a long day, taking a bubble bath is one of the finest things you can do for yourself. When combined with a glass of wine and possibly a good movie or book, it can be an excellent step in your self-care regimen that will reduce all stress.
Wine and Learning
If you love drinking wine, you probably also love learning about it, and combining these two activities can be very fun. There are many amazing books and blogs out there that can help you learn everything there is to know about every grape variety and every winemaking region. There’s no better way to experience wine than to sip it while reading about it.
Wine and Cooking
Cooking can be a very relaxing activity that can help you take your mind off of things or give you some time to reflect on the events of the day. Sipping a glass of wine while preparing a meal can definitely help you destress and maybe get you in a more creative mood. Who knows, maybe you’ll come up with a brand-new recipe.
Wine and Chores
Stress can be caused by a variety of things, from doing chores to paying bills, but these are all things that have to get done. If you’re looking for something to motivate you to do those things that you avoid doing, maybe consider pairing them with a glass of wine. You’ll feel relaxed not only because you’re drinking but because you’re getting things done.
Wine and Relaxing - Conclusion
It’s no surprise that wine has been a beloved drink for many centuries. Not only does it have numerous benefits for our physical health, but it can also help us relax, which can be very difficult in our times. We hope this post has taught you something new today, whether it's about the role of resveratrol or what you can do while drinking your favorite wine. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your wine-loving pals who may be a little too stressed for their own good.
Relax With Wine in Moderation
Please keep in mind that this article is written for educational purposes and alcohol should always be drunk in moderation. While it is true that wine can help you relax since it acts as a natural anxiolytic, it is definitely not recommended to rely on drinking as a coping mechanism for reducing stress in your life. Over-reliance on wine could lead to many other mental and physical health problems that can arise from drinking excessively. If you’re suffering from feelings of anxiety that make your daily life difficult, we urge you to talk to your primary care physician about it, as they can provide you with the help that you need.