Red wine really does help you relax, according to scientists.

You might be used to having a glass at the end of a long week but it’s not just the alcohol that lets you wind down.

It turns out that one of the ingredients can actually block enzymes linked to stress, depression and anxiety.

Scientists say that plant compound resveratrol, found in red wine, helps relieve stress in the brain.

Corticosterone is produced when the body is stressed or worried but too much stress means the hormone circulates the brain and can cause mental health problems, but in the study on mice, resveratrol helped to protect against corticosterone.

The compound has already been linked to helping to prevent heart disease.

‘Resveratrol may be an effective alternative to drugs for treating patients suffering from depression and anxiety disorders,’ said Ying Xu co-lead author and research associate professor in the Buffalo University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Of course, doctors aren’t going to start prescribing wine as an alternative to antidepressants but the research around resveratrol could be used to develop new treatments for depression and anxiety.

The study, which was also led by Xiaoxing Yin, professor at Xuzhou Medical University in China, was published on July 15 in the journal Neuropharmacology.

Drinking too much alcohol can cause harm so even if you do feel more relaxed after a glass of wine, make sure you still stick within the recommend guidelines.

The NHS says there is no ‘safe’ level of drinking but less than 14 units a week is considered low risk.

There’s three units in a large (250ml) glass of 12% ABC red wine and two in a 175ml glass.

And red wine might have some benefits but it shouldn’t be the only thing you use to relax. Things like getting enough sleep, exercising and eating well can also help.

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