A glass of red wine a day might indeed keep the doctor away—at least that could be the case for those suffering from Type 2 diabetes, according to a new study. It suggests red wine in moderation helps patients manage cholesterol and improves cardiac health. Researchers set out to discover the effects of moderate alcohol consumption on people with well-controlled Type 2 diabetes, who generally have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and lower levels of HDL cholesterol, which is good for the heart, reports Time. The 224 alcohol-abstaining participants with a low risk for alcohol abuse, aged 40 to 75, were then assigned a beverage—mineral water, dry white wine, or dry red wine—and told to drink 5 ounces with a meal each night for two years; they also followed a Mediterranean diet.
At the end of the study, there were no major differences in blood pressure and liver function among the three groups, reports Medical News Today. However, red wine drinkers were the only ones to see decreased cardiometabolic risks. They also saw a significant boost in HDL cholesterol and lower cholesterol overall, while all wine drinkers reported improved sleep, reports CBS News. Though the alcohol appeared to aid glycemic control in white wine drinkers, the differences between the red wine and white wine groups suggest alcohol wasn't responsible for all the benefits. The red wine had seven times higher levels of total phenols than the white wine, and "it's the phenols, it's the resveratrol, it's the tannins" in the red wine that effect these benefits, says an expert. Genetic differences also affected glycemic control, meaning certain people are more likely to benefit from drinking wine. (Just watch out for arsenic.)