Is Red Wine Good For Your Heart?
Red wine is known to have many benefits. It is not only a tasty addition to certain dishes but can also be an adult treat at the end of a long day. Short Walk Wines (https://shortwalkwines.com/), a wine bar in Raleigh, recommends it as a great beverage for a social party or get together. Not to mention the health benefits that we all have heard before. “Red wine – a glass a day is good for the heart!” But, is it really good for your heart, too?
First things first, let’s find out how red wine is good for your heart. Then we’ll discuss the risks and if there are other options out there. Read on to find out below!
How Is It Good For The Heart?
Mayo Clinic stated that red wine is good for your heart, so long as you drink it in moderation. The wine has alcohol and certain ingredients that help prevent coronary artery disease, which leads to heart disease. The antioxidants in the wine may increase levels of high-density lipoprotein, which is good cholesterol for the body that protects your body from cholesterol buildup.
However, these findings are due to the alcohol content in the wine. So, it may not be any better than other kinds of liquor like beer or white wine. It does have different amounts of a polyphenol called resveratrol than the other liquors, which may have an effect on the lining in your blood vessels in your heart.
Resveratrol is a key ingredient in red wine since it comes from the skin of grapes. The skins are used when making the wine, in comparison to white which is not used. It prevents damage to blood vessels from bad cholesterol and increases the levels of good cholesterol in the body. Due to this fact, you can also get similar benefits from eating grapes rather than drinking wine.
If you already drink red wine, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means:
- Up to one drink a day for women of all ages.
- Up to one drink a day for men older than age 65.
- Up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. The limit for men is higher because men generally weigh more and have more of an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol than women do.
A drink is defined as:
- 12 ounces (355 milliliters, or mL) of beer
- 5 ounces (148 mL) of wine
- 5 ounces (44 mL) of 80-proof distilled spirits
While there are obvious benefits to drinking red wine, it should still be done in moderation. It is still alcohol, so drinking it in excess can be harmful.
Intoxication can be dangerous if you plan on driving after drinking it. It is also dangerous if you have a history of alcohol abuse that can resurface if you drink too much red wine, or develop an addiction for the wine if there wasn’t one before. Not to mention, it can lead to other health risks if you drink too much.
Drinking too much alcohol increases your risk of:
- Liver and pancreas diseases
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure
- Certain types of cancer
- Accidents, violence, and suicide
- Weight gain and obesity
Avoid alcohol completely if you:
- Are pregnant
- Have a personal or strong family history of alcoholism
- Have a liver or pancreas disease associated with alcohol consumption
- Have heart failure or a weak heart
- Take certain medications or a daily aspirin
Health Harvard reported that there has been some research done on the heart benefits of drinking red wine. Many of the studies have found that moderate red wine drinkers do have lower cholesterol and less of a risk of heart disease. However, this may only be observational rather than a cause of this health benefit.
These benefits may come from dietary and exercise habits on top of drinking the wine that is leading to these results. For the non-drinkers in these studies, they may have unreported or reported heart disease before the testing even began. So, while there has been testing done with control groups, there hasn’t been done over a long span of time.
Overall, red wine does have some benefits to aid in heart health. It’s just a matter of drinking it in moderation. You can also get the same benefits from eating grapes or drinking non-alcoholic red wine. So, those would be better options if you want to stir clear of the alcohol content.
But, you don’t need to avoid it altogether. You can enjoy a glass and know that it does have some benefits for your heart and cholesterol. We can take some health advice from France, who drinks red wine and enjoys a fatty diet of cheeses and other rich foods. Hopefully, more studies will be done in the future to better attest if red wine really is the best option for our hearts.