You may want to grab a glass of red wine during your next happy hour. Several studies claim that moderate red wine consumption may reap heart-healthy benefits.
Mediterranean countries who drink red wine on the daily have low heart disease rates, but is it really the answer?
It may be a contributing factor, but before you pour another glass, remember that drinking alcohol in excess can harm your health. The red wine debate is ongoing, but here is what we know:
The Buzz on Red Wine Benefits
First of all, red wine isn’t single-handedly going to cure or prevent a disease. Antioxidants, molecules that help prevent cell damage, found in red wine are the focus when it comes to potential health benefits. Here are some of the antioxidants that research has been buzzing about:
- May help lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots, inhibit cancer cell growth, and improve bone health
- Found in the skin of grapes
- Also found in apples, raspberries, blueberries, and plums
- May improve blood flow and inhibit cancer cell growth
- Found in the skin and seed of grapes or oak barrels that wine may be aged in
- Also found in teas, especially green tea
- May help lower blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, and have anti-cancer effects
- Pigment found on the skin of red grapes, giving them their color
- Also found in red, blue, or purple colored fruits such as berries
- May help reduce inflammation and have anti-cancer effects
- Found on the skin of grapes
- Also found in green tea and cocoa
Keep in mind that conclusions about antioxidants and red wine have varied and more research needs to be done. Overall health is affected by all lifestyle practices and environments, making the effects of red wine difficult to measure.
What About White Wine?
Grapes’ skins are removed much earlier in the production of white wine compared to red. Since most of the antioxidants are found in the skin of grapes, white wines are less likely to provide health benefits.
Although wine may provide some health benefits, it should be consumed with caution. Like any other alcoholic beverage, it is important to drink it in moderation. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate drinking is considered one alcoholic beverage per day for women and two for men.
One alcoholic beverage is equivalent to:
- 5 fluid ounces of wine (12% alcohol)
- 12 fluid ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol)
- 1.5 fluid ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits (40% alcohol)
Related: Wine 101: crash course for beginners