With Valentines Day around the corner there are probably a lot of you out there who, like us, are planning to celebrate the holiday by sharing a bottle of wine with your special someone.

Many people feel a bit guilty that they are enjoying alcoholic beverages, and while excessive drinking is not good for the body, as it can wreak havoc on you micronutrient levels, a lit bit now and again is incredibly health promoting.  You heard us right!  Like Olivia Pope on Scandal, we not only approve of your nightly Cabernet habit—but we have one ourselves!

Remember, you still have to drink responsibly, but let’s all raise our glasses together and toast these 7 health bonuses from booze. 

1. A Glass of Wine is equal to an hour in the gym! According to researchers at Canada’s University of Alberta, Resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, can offer your body some of the benefits of hitting the gym, a boosted heart rate and amped up muscle performance, without sweat-inducing exercise. This only holds true of red wine, so chardonnays and hard spirits don’t get this boozey benefit!

2. Red Wine fights cavities. We all know that a Merlot, Bordeaux, or Chianti can stain your teeth, but how many of you realized that it actually acts as a mouthwash? It’s true!  According to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the flavan-3-ols in red wine can reduce “bad bacteria” found in your mouth. Researchers were able to kill different types of bacteria responsible for dental diseases dipping them in red wine.

3. 2 drinks a day can make a man’s heart stronger. Harvard researchers looked at almost 2,000 American men who had a heart attack between 1986 and 2006. The researchers followed up with the men for up to 20 years following their first heart attack, and 468 men died during the study. Men who drank two alcoholic drinks each day over a long period of time were 42 percent less likely to die from heart disease. The effects remained after factoring out other risk factors including smoking, obesity, age and medical history.

4. Booze in all forms is great for the bones. A 2013 study in the journal Menopause found women who drank one or two drinks each day, several times a week, were less likely to experience bone loss.

According to the Oregon State University researchers behind the study, consumption of 19 grams of alcohol—about two small glasses of wine—helped preserve bone strength just as well as bisphosphonates, a type of drug used by hundreds of thousands of women to combat thinning bones. Participants were asked to stop drinking for two weeks, and the researchers saw evidence of more bone turnover, which is a risk factor for osteoporosis. But the researchers were surprised to see that when the subjects resumed their normal drinking habits, the bone turnover rates returned to previous levels – within less than a day. Finnish researchers concur; in 2013 they determined that women drinking more than three alcoholic drinks a week had significantly higher bone density than abstainers

5. You’re may be less likely to get an autoimmune condition. Alcohol, regardless of which type you are drinking, has the ability to lower the body’s immune system response. And because autoimmune disorders are caused because the body mistakenly attacks itself this lowered immune response is actually a good thing for those with autoimmune disorders. Research published in the British Medical Journal, looked at more than 34,000 older Swedish women and collected data on the women’s drinking habits twice during the study. They found that the women who drank more than three glasses of alcohol per week were 52 percent less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disease), compared to non-drinkers. The lowered autoimmune response seemed to have reduced the number of autoimmune disorders and while more research needs to be done here, the outlook is promising.  Cheers to that!

6. Wine may help you stay thin. Polyphenols in grape seeds are loaded with antioxidants that work to protect our bodies from free radicals that damage cells. In fact, grape seed extract has sixty times more potent antioxidant activity per milligram than vitamin E. In a 2009 study from France’s University of Montpellier, a group of “lucky” hamsters was fed a daily diet high in fat and grape seed extract from chardonnay grapes. A second group of hamsters was fed only the high-fat diet, while a third group was fed a standard diet. After twelve weeks the hamsters on the high-fat diet alone had gained significant weight and had increased their blood sugar levels, insulin levels, triglycerides, and abdominal fat. In contrast, the researchers found that animals given grape seed did not have increased abdominal weight. Researchers concluded that this is “the first time that chronic consumption of grape phenolics is shown to reduce obesity development.” In fact, the researchers concluded that the grape seed extract group showed limited oxidative stress, which led to an “antiobesity effect.”

7. You don’t only live a jollier life but you live a longer life as well. Two Harvard studies revealed that, compared to abstainers, the risk of death from all causes was reduced by up to 28 percent among men and women who drank alcohol moderately. Additionally a recent study in the journal Alcoholism is offering good news for those who booze, by suggesting that people who drink alcohol regularly may actually live longer than tee-totallers. According to the findings, those who abstain from drinking alcohol completely have a higher mortality rate than others while ‘moderate’ drinkers, who consume one to three drinks per day, have the lowest mortality. So, maybe the Jewish toast “l’chaim” which means “to- life” is spot on!

To learn how many of your habits add or detract from your overall health and to get a vitamin and mineral dense 28-day program where alcohol is not only accepted but advised, grab a copy of our latest book, The Micronutrient Miracle.