Drinking Red Wine After Exercising Could Have Some Benefits

If you exercise, you know how good it feels to knock back a cool drink at the end of a long workout. But have you ever thought about substituting a nice glass of red wine for that post-workout pick-me-up? Probably not. But new research says it's something to potentially consider.

Research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition revealed that exercise produces something called oxidative stress in the body. It varies according to the intensity, type of exercise, age, sex, health, and other factors, but generally, exercise produces free radicals in the body.

Grapes are rich in polyphenols, which fight the effects of oxidative stress. The researchers noted that the human body has developed a complex antioxidant system, which generally works well. But in the case of extended stress, such as intense training, endurance athletics, or a tournament situation, this system doesn't have time to regenerate.

Enter grapes. As the fourth most abundant fruit in the world, they are readily available. The study's authors did note, however, that fresh grapes may not be available year-round, in which case grape beverages or extracts can be a substitute.

Red wine is packed with another benefit

But do they include wine in the list of acceptable grape beverages? The only mention researchers made of the drink was to note that they did not consider it in their research. Because some people cannot drink wine, for health or other reasons, they chose to leave it out of their research.

Red wine does have other research backing its health benefits, however. One study done at the University of Alberta found that resveratrol, naturally found in red wine, improved heart function and muscle strength even in the absence of exercise. The bad news is that the study was only done on animals, so they did not have any human research to back up the statistics.

For people who don't want the alcohol in red wine, the study's authors note that red grape juice provides the same protective benefits for the heart, muscles, and joints. But if you're ready to imbibe, raise a glass in good conscience.