What's the deal with adding Wine to your WOD?

February 10, 2016

This is a guest post from Austin Thomas, MS, RDN, LDN.  Austin is the owner of Keystone Nutrition, LLC. She is a fellow athlete, cancer survivor, advocate of healthy living and living life to its fullest. You can follow Austin on Keystone Nutrition, LLC and Instagram. 

As a nutritionist, I get asked plenty of questions on what is okay and what isn't okay. The most recent "scientific news" was that drinking a glass of red wine will replace your an hour at the gym...YOU ARE KIDDING ME! Who comes up with this stuff?? We all know that this isn't true. Physical activity will always be better than consuming any type of alcohol. 

So why not do both?? Have the best of both worlds and here's why!

I don’t know a dietitian out there who hasn’t justified their occasional glass of red wine by referencing the American Heart Association’s recommendation that 1-2 glasses per day is good for our hearts. An inverse relationship between moderate red wine consumption and blood pressure has been demonstrated along with an increase in HDL (“good cholesterol”). The American Heart Association doesn’t stop there – it mentions how the polyphenols in red wine are thought to inhibit platelet aggregation, or prevent blockages. 

What impact can red wine have for you as an Athlete?

Recent research shows that the polyphenols in red wine may actually provide some protection against exercise induced oxidative stress (Sureda et al). Exhaustive exercise – and I’m pretty sure that most WODs can be considered “exhaustive” – can lead to an increase in free radicals. These aren’t just any free radicals either, they are superoxide free radicals, which can result in muscle damage. The ingestion of polyphenols (which can be found in our beloved red wine) may help mitigate these free radicals (Myburgh et al).

Does it really help decrease inflammation post workout?

Potentially supporting this hypothesis, another study which looked at the impact alcohol consumption may have on muscle soreness post exercise discovered a perceived decrease in muscle soreness in those who drank alcohol post workout (Chen).  However, before you go out and stock up for “wining” after your WOD keep in mind,  that these perceived decreases in muscle soreness were a positive result despite any biological differences (that would correspond with a decrease in muscle soreness) between those who consumed alcohol versus the placebo. 

Is it just as good for us for as well?  

Depending on your goals, you may want to stick to plain old whining. Any alcohol consumption over 1.5g of alcohol per kg of body weight has been shown to impair hypertrophy – aka glorious gains! (Bianco et al)

Although 1-2 glasses of wine per day wine is recommended for overall health benefits, moderation, as always, is key. Depending on goals and where you are in your training, red wine can be enjoyed as part of your training routine! Fingers crossed research in the future might demonstrate that it can actually be beneficial in the athletic world…we can dream! For now, go and enjoy a glass of red by protecting your heart with it’s polyphenols

Yours in health,

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