Red wine can relieve stress and anxiety, study reveals

According to a new study, it's not just the alcohol in red wine which helps you relax. [Photo: Getty]
According to a new study, it's not just the alcohol in red wine which helps you relax. [Photo: Getty]

If you look forward to winding down with a glass of red wine at the end of the week, you’re not alone.

Many people assumed it was the alcohol in wine that relieves stress, but it turns out that one of the ingredients blocks enzymes linked to stress, anxiety and depression.

The magic ingredient is called plant compound reservatrol, and it’s proven to help relieve stress in the brain.

We’ll drink to that.

READ MORE: Whether you drink red or white wine says a lot about you

When the body is under stress, it produces cortisol. When you are under too much stress, the hormone can cause mental health problems from depression to anxiety.

Animals have a similar stress hormone called corticosterone - the animal equivalent of cortisol.

The research into the calming effects on red wine was undertaken on mice and found that reservatrol helped to protect the mice against corticosterone.

Reservatrol has already been found to help with heart disease.

READ MORE: Burn-out is recognised as a mental health condition

This new discovery could prove valuable as an alternative drug for treating depression and anxiety.

That doesn’t mean doctors are going to start prescribing wine to treat mental health problems.

It does, however, mean that the compound found in wine could be developed into a new treatment for depression, anxiety and stress.

READ MORE: Is stress causing you to gain weight?

Regardless of the stress benefits, it’s important to stick within the NHS guidelines for drinking alcohol.

According to the NHS, there is no “safe” level, but if you’re drinking under 14 units per week you’re considered low-risk.

For reference, there are around three units in a large glass of red wine.

There are plenty more ways to alleviate stress with a more long-term mindset, too. Everything from exercise to a good night’s sleep can put you back on track.

Research recently found stroking a cat or dog can reduce stress levels, too. Thank us later.

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