Like all tired mums, I am partial to a nice class of red at the end of the day. I like to tell myself that red wine is good for you – I’m sure we’ve all heard before that a glass a day has a number of health benefits, and after all, they drink it all over the Med and they’re supposed to be pretty healthy, right?
So, red wine is often lauded as a health drink, but what does the evidence actually show? Can red wine help improve heart health, prevent cancer and other diseases, and promote weight loss?
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the research on red wine and health to see if there are any real benefits to drinking it. We’ll also discuss how you can get the most out of red wine’s potential health benefits.
Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?
Resveratrol, a phytonutrient found in red wine, may be a key component that makes red wine heart healthy. Let’s look at the facts — and the hype — about red wine and how it affects the heart.
Red wine, in moderate amounts, has long been thought to be heart healthy. Alcohol and antioxidants found in red wine might help prevent heart attacks by inhibiting the development of atherosclerosis.
There’s no clear explanation for why red wine may be linked to a lower incidence of heart problems. However, antioxidants in red wine have the potential to raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and prevent platelet clumping.
It’s not advised that you start drinking alcohol in order to improve your heart condition, especially if you or someone in your family has a history of alcohol abuse. Excess alcohol can be detrimental to one’s health in many ways.
If you already drink a glass of wine with your supper, drinking it in moderation may benefit your heart health.
How is red wine heart healthy?
Polyphenols in red wine, which are antioxidants, may help safeguard the heart’s blood vessel lining. Resveratrol is a polyphenol found in red wine that has been studied for its health advantages.
Resveratrol in red wine
Resveratrol has been shown in studies to aid in the prevention of blood vessel damage, lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol), and prevent blood clots.
However, the research on resveratrol is uncertain. Some study have found that resveratrol may be linked to a decreased risk of inflammation and blood clotting, which can lower the incidence of heart disease. Other studies, however, failed to find any protective effects of resveratrol in preventing heart disease.
To assess whether resveratrol inhibits inflammation and blood clotting, additional study is necessary.
Resveratrol in grapes, supplements and other foods
The resveratrol in red wine comes from the grape skins used to make it. Because red wine is fermented with grape skins for a longer period of time than white wine, it has more resveratrol.
It’s possible that eating grapes or drinking grape juice is a way to consume resveratrol without drinking alcohol. Red and purple grape juices may contain some of the same heart-healthy benefits as red wine.
Peanuts, blueberries, and cranberries all have traces of resveratrol. It’s unclear how eating grapes or other fruits compares to drinking red wine when it comes to increasing heart health. Resveratrol content in foods and red wine varies greatly.
Resveratrol supplements are also available. However, adverse effects are unknown, and most of the resveratrol in pills is thought to be unable to enter the body.
How might alcohol help the heart?
There is still no consensus that beer, white wine, or hard liquor are superior to red wine in terms of heart health.
Moderate amounts of all types of alcohol, not just red wine, have been shown to be good for the heart in several studies. It’s thought that ethanol:
- Improves the likelihood of maintaining normal cholesterol levels.
- Decreases the formation of blood clots.
- When you have high levels of blood cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol), it can cause arterial damage.
- Enhance the efficiency of the layer of cells that lines blood vessels
How much red wine is good for you?
The moderate intake of red wine is defined as:
- For men: Up to two drinks a day.
- For women: Up to one drink a day.
A standard drink is equivalent to:
- 12 ounces (355 ml) of beer.
- Five ounces (148 ml) of wine.
- One and a half ounces (44 ml) of 80-proof spirits.
The Bottom Line
Red wine is linked to a lower incidence of heart problems, but it’s not advised that you start drinking alcohol in order to improve your heart condition. If you already drink red wine, drinking it in moderation may benefit your heart health. More research is needed to assess the protective effects of resveratrol in preventing heart disease.
In general, moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of heart problems. If you choose to drink red wine, do so in moderation as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Excess alcohol intake can cause weight gain, high blood pressure, and other health problems. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about drinking red wine or alcohol in general.