Is Red Wine Really Good for You?

Tracie Chavoor

Published on September 06th, 2016

You may have heard the hype about red wine and health benefits, but what does science say?

Red wine and heart health: There is strong scientific evidence to suggest red wine, in moderation, is good for your heart! This works in two different ways.

Alcohol: obviously red wine contains alcohol. Low to moderate consumption of alcohol has been shown to increase your HDL cholesterol (that’s the good cholesterol) and also decreases fibrinogen in your blood. Fibrinogen is partially responsible for the formation of blood clots, so less fibrinogen means a lower chance of heart complications due to blood clots. Both of these effects are beneficial in reducing your risk of heart disease!

Polyphenols: because red wine is fermented with it’s skin (as opposed to white wine, which has the skins removed) it is very high in polyphenols. What is a polyphenol? It’s basically a fancy word for a plant-based antioxidant. Polyphenols help protect our heart by increasing the diameter of our blood vessels, which lowers the risk of high blood pressure. If you don’t like red wine, there is good news. You can get these same polyphenol benefits from drinking grape juice!

Red wine and diabetes: There is some evidence that red wine helps reduce the risk of diabetes. This is due to alcohol’s effects on HDL cholesterol and apolipoproteins (which help make up HDL cholesterol). Increases in these molecules helps the body make insulin, which is key in preventing diabetes. However, the research to back this up is not as strong as with heart disease. Some studies have shown benefits, while others have not.

A little goes a long way: The key to reaping the health benefits of red wine is moderation. Increased alcohol consumption is associated with over 200 different negative health conditions including cancer, gastrointestinal diseases, diabetes and heart disease. Too much alcohol can also harm the immune system, which increases the risk of coming down with a cold, flu, or worse.

The recommendations for alcohol consumption are no more than one drink a day for women (one drink is 5 oz of wine or 12 oz of beer) and two drinks a day for men. So enjoy a glass of wine with dinner but don’t over do it if you want to hold on to those health benefits!