Can the type of alcohol you drink really improve your sex life? Even your overall health? Experts say yes.
Summertime is a time for casual getaways, hitting the beach and fitting into that bathing suit you’ve been eyeing up all winter. Before you head out to look for love, remember knowledge is power when it comes to giving romance a boost and keeping your health in check.
Courvoisier says red wine is the wine for love. Pair that with the soundtrack from Fifty Shades of Gray and you have the makings for a great night with your partner. So why is red wine an aphrodisiac for love?
“Alcohol in general is considered a ‘social lubricant’,” explains Dr. Sujata Chava, Internal Medicine Physician with Access Health Louisiana. “Red wine increases blood flow to women’s erogenous zones and perhaps increases testosterone levels in men. Of course, these effects are negated and even depressed if too much alcohol is consumed.”
Alcohol impacts our body in different ways. With each sip of alcohol, “triggers” are set off inside our body. The first few sips gives us the liquid courage we need to feel more relaxed, yet confident to take a risk like saying hello to that handsome guy across the bar. Studies show that after consuming two glasses of red wine, the receptors in our brain are stimulated. This is when most people feel the most pleasure and in control of their situation.
According to an Italian study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the compounds in red wine enhance the levels of sexual desire for both men and women. For ladies, this stimulation causes increased blood flow, which in turn increases levels for sexual desire. Men see similar effects; however, they also experience a boost in their testosterone levels. Testosterone is the key hormone that gives men their craving for sexual companionship.
Dr. Chava agrees but says some people must proceed with caution. “A person who does not drink alcohol, is not encouraged to start drinking red wine purely for health benefits, especially if they have a personal history or family history of alcohol abuse. However, for those who do drink alcohol, red wine contains a polyphenol called resveratrol which may have heart healthy benefits. Although studies are not fully conclusive, resveratrol may reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), decrease inflammation of blood vessels and raise HDL (good cholesterol).”
Unlike spirits, red wine also contains polyphenols. Polyphenols are packed with antioxidants that can improve your digestion, help balance weight, prevent cardiovascular disease and even help avoid diabetes. Polyphenols and resveratrol work together to protect the body. “Resveratrol (the heart healthy ingredient) comes from the skin of grapes,” explains Dr. Chava. “Red wine is fermented with grape skins longer than white wine, so red wine has more resveratrol than white wine. However, simply eating grapes or drinking grape juice may be a way to ingest resveratrol without drinking alcohol.”
Another benefit has to do with sugar intake. Just one glass of red wine (250ml) contains just under one gram of sugar (1/4 teaspoon). Compare that with hard alcohol like vodka, gin, rum, brandy and tequila. Each drink ranges between 80 and 100 calories per shot.
If you’re not into wine or hard liquor, then mixers may be your game. A game you may want to re-think. Take gin and tonic. Tonic water can add up to four teaspoons or 18 grams of sugar to your diet. Vodka-cranberry drinks are a bar favorite, but not at 30 grams of sugar.
Consider the daily recommendation for sugar intakes for men and women before you place your bar order. Most men can handle an average of 70 grams of sugar daily, while experts recommend just 50 grams for women. (If you’re diabetic or have other chronic illnesses, check with your doctor for your recommended daily intake.)
Low-sugar diets can keep your bikini trim and help you find love on the beach. It can also lower your risk for developing diabetes, the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. according to the American Diabetes Association. So, remember, when heading out to look for love, a drink in a long stem glass may benefit you and your relationship far more than a mixer in a “go-cup”.