The Limited Reach of Red Wine’s Health Benefits

Recently, there’s a fitness rumor going around that consuming one glass of red wine is equal provides health benefits equal to the ones we get out of doing a one hour workout at the gym. This is a seductive headline– “Score!” Readers are thinking, “A glass of Cabernet every day will keep me just as fit as 60 minutes on the treadmill? Fill ‘er up!”

Yes, it’s no surprise that this circulating nutrition trend is attracting lots of attention. It’s easy to believe in things we want to believe in, like, for example, the notion that kicking back with a nice red will do just as much for you as sweating through a tough cardio session.

I feel a duty, however, to set the facts straight in the name of the yoga and fitness program I believe in so fully and those who practice it.

I used to enjoy drinking more than I do now. At a time when I was enjoying multiple drinks per week, I was also having a lot of trouble ridding extra bulk from my mid section. My fitness trainer asked me about my alcohol intake, and reminded me that each of my drinks was going straight to my waist despite my commitment to healthy eating and regular exercise.

Yes, red wine contains resveratrol, a compound that carries a variety of health benefits. But I would have had a very hard time persuading people over the past twenty years to tap into the amazing power of proper nutrition and regular exercise if it were really true that red wine does just as much for our health. Red wine delivers resveratrol, yes, but like all alcoholic beverages, it also contains ethanol, which behaves like poison in the metabolism, plus a ton of sugar and calories!

Daily exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system, purifies your skin, jumpstarts your body’s ability to burn calories, and releases a flood of natural endorphins that noticeably enhance your energy level and sense of well being. If there’s an equivalent trade-in for the myriad gifts of regular exercise, human society hasn’t found it. Exercise is unique in its ability to keep the body and mind happy and healthy, and while, alcohol in close moderation is not a critical impediment to overall health, I recommend that anyone aiming to truly calibrate his or her body and mood eliminates it entirely. Alcohol provides momentary relaxation and poses a subsequent obstruction of our digestion, and mood. It is a fleeting fix to a larger question of how to make ourselves feel relaxed and happy on the larger scale whereas mindful eating and fitness support big-picture wellness.

With regard to this popular but uninformed fitness rumor, give your right mind, instead of the vino, a minute to breathe, and get back to the mat!

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