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Wine Before Bed Can Make You Lose Weight, Here’s Why

Wine Before Bed Can Make You Lose Weight, Here’s Why

If you have taken a glass or two of wine at bedtime in the past and felt a little guilty about it — rejoice! New research has found that this ritual might actually be good for your health — and even help you achieve your weight loss goals.

What the Studies Found

Two separate studies, one from Washington University and one from Harvard, both found a link between regular, moderate alcohol consumption and a healthy body weight.

In the study out of Harvard, scientists looked at almost 20,000 women who were of a healthy body weight for 13 years and studied them for factors like weight gain, physical activity, and alcohol consumption. Researchers concluded that “compared with non-drinkers, initially normal weight women who consumed a light to moderate amount of alcohol gained less weight and reduced their risk of obesity.”

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The Washington University study, which was performed on overweight female mice, found that the mice who were given extract of resveratrol, an active ingredient in red wine, produced more “brown” fat cells; these fat cells, as opposed to white fat cells, make it easier to lose weight and keep it off. While this is not as conclusive as a human study, it does at least indicate that resveratrol has, as the researchers noted, “beneficial anti-obesity effects.”

Scientists from both studies attribute these findings to the resveratrol in wine. This much-studied compound appears to be able to curb the appetite naturally so that fewer calories are consumed without having to suffer through hunger pains. Resveratrol also appears to be able to have a positive effect on fat cells by preventing them from storing even more fat.

The Studies in Context

These studies are part of a growing body of evidence that wine-drinking might actually be beneficial for those who are trying to shed those extra pounds. Several recent studies have linked wine or alcohol consumption to a healthier weight:

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  • The University of Denmark published a study which looked at drinking habits versus abdominal girth and found that regular drinkers tended to have the smallest waistlines.
  • A study on overweight or obese laboratory mice found that the animals given an extract from pinot noir grapes not only lost weight but had lower blood sugars than mice who did not receive this supplementation.

Other Health Benefits of Resveratrol

Resveratrol itself has also been studied on its own in order to understand its benefits better, and apart from helping with weight loss, there are many other good reasons to make sure you are getting enough of it in your diet. For one thing, it appears to be cardio-protective, meaning that it helps reduce your risk of developing heart disease. This is because it can lower both high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, which are major risk factors for heart conditions.

It also increases the sensitivity of your cells to insulin and prevents or treats insulin resistance, which not only makes it easier to lose weight but could lower your risk of diabetes as well.

Finally, several studies have shown that it can help with, prevent, or treat age-related memory loss, and the Alzheimer’s Association notes that several studies are underway to see how this compound can help improve mental function.

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A Few Things to Consider

It is important to note, however, that these health benefits, as far as we know, only apply to wine (and mostly red wine, at that) due to its high resveratrol content. This is not a license to go and drink excessively, as this beverage is both high in sugar and in calories — and is also linked to problems like liver damage if it becomes a long-term habit. It has also been shown that excessive drinking can actually raise blood pressure and blood sugar levels as well.

So what is a moderate amount? According to the Mayo Clinic, a serving of alcohol is 5 ounces of wine. A moderate amount is considered to be two drinks daily for a man and one for a woman. Also, moderate drinking is most effective when it is part of other sensible lifestyle habits, such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress management.

These studies are encouraging, as they show that simple habits like regular wine consumption can be helpful for people wanting to achieve a healthy body weight. And the extra health benefits that resveratrol provides, such as better heart health and brain function, make it doubly attractive.  So — within reason — drink up!  These regular glasses of wine can make the challenge of weight loss easier to overcome.

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Featured photo credit: Aliis Sinisalu via unsplash.com

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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