Red wine has long been known to be chock full of healthy antioxidants.

However, a new comprehensive study by Ben Gurion University of the Negev has shown just how beneficial red wine can be, especially for people with Type 2 Diabetes.

For two years, CASCADE researchers at BGU — who worked with Hadassah Hebrew Union Medical Center, Harvard University of Public Health and other international institutes — followed 224 Type 2 diabetics who did not regularly consume alcohol.

Some were asked to drink mineral water, while others were assigned red or white wine to drink with dinner. They were also encouraged to follow a largely plant-based Mediterranean diet.

At the end of the two years, the researchers noted that the group assigned red wine had a modest but marked increase in cardiovascular health.

“Red wine was found to be superior in improving overall metabolic profiles, mainly by modestly improving the lipid profile, by increasing good (HDL) cholesterol and apolipoprotein A1 (one of the major constituents of HDL cholesterol), while decreasing the ratio between total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol,” the scientists explained about their findings, which was recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

They also concluded “initiating moderate wine intake, especially red wine, among well-controlled diabetics, as part of a healthy diet, is apparently safe” for Type 2 Diabetics and may even improve heart health.

In addition, while only red wine proved to be a heart-healthy choice for Type 2 Diabetics, both white and red wine proved beneficial for sleep and glucose control.

BGU Professor Iris Shai, the principal investigator in the study, said that the better glucose metabolism was due to the presence of ethanol in both red and white wine while the heart-healthy properties were found in red wine alone.

Yet, while the study concludes wine does not need to be off-limits for Type 2 Diabetics, Shai advised before taking up a wine habit, it is best to consult a doctor first.

“Any clinical implication of the CASCADE findings should be taken with caution with careful medical follow-up,” she said.