Is Red Wine Actually Good for You? Here’s What the Research Suggests

Is Red Wine Actually Good for You? Here’s What the Research Suggests

Have you ever filled your glass with Cabernet or Pinot Noir and said, “Hey, that’s good for my heart, isn’t it?” This widespread impression harks back to a catchphrase coined in the late 1980s: the French paradox.

The French paradox refers to the idea that drinking wine might explain the relatively low rates of heart disease among the French, despite their fondness for cheese and other high-fat foods. This theory helped discover several beneficial plant compounds known as polyphenols. Polyphenols, found in the skins of red and purple grapes (as well as many other fruits, vegetables, and nuts), theoretically explain the heart-protecting properties of wine. Another argument stems from the fact that the Mediterranean Diet, an eating pattern proven to prevent heart attacks and strokes, includes red wine. Moderate drinking, defined as one drink per day for healthy women and two drinks per day for healthy men, is generally considered safe. So far, however, the health effects of alcohol have never been tested in a randomized long-term study.

Grape Expectations

Although some studies suggest wine is better for the heart than beer or liquor, others do not, according to a review article on wine and cardiovascular health.

In many cases, it is difficult to determine the effect of consumption patterns on certain types of alcoholic beverages. For example, people who drink wine are more likely to do so as part of a healthy pattern, such as drinking wine. A glass or two with a good meal. These habits, and not your choice of alcohol, can explain your heart health.

Also, the French paradox may not be so paradoxical after all. Many experts now believe that factors other than the wine might explain the observation, such as lifestyle and dietary differences and the previous underreporting of deaths from heart disease by French doctors. Heart disease rates are lower in Japan than in France, but the Japanese drink a lot of beer and clear spirits, but hardly any red wine.

Red wine, in moderation, has long been considered heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent coronary artery disease, which leads to heart attacks.

Any link between red wine and fewer heart attacks is not fully understood. Part of the benefit might be that the antioxidants in red wine may increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and protect against cholesterol build-up. Health care providers do not recommend that you start drinking alcohol for heart benefits, especially if you have a family history of alcohol use disorders. Too much alcohol can have many harmful effects on the body.

If you’re already enjoying a glass of red wine with dinner, consuming it in moderation can improve heart health.

The French Paradox

Red wine is often blamed for the “French Paradox”. This phrase refers to the observation that the French have a low rate of heart disease despite consuming high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. However, these new studies have shown that dietary cholesterol and saturated fats do not cause heart disease when consumed in appropriate amounts. The real reason for the good health of the French is probably the fact that they eat more whole foods and live healthier lives in general.

Some people believe that red wine is responsible for the good health of the French population and that it is the main explanation for the French paradox is.

How Healthy Is Red Wine for the Heart?

The antioxidants in red wine, called polyphenols, may help protect the lining of the heart’s blood vessels. A polyphenol called resveratrol is a substance in red wine that has received attention for its health benefits.

Resveratrol in Red Wine

Resveratrol can help prevent damage to blood vessels, lower LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and prevent blood clots. However, studies on resveratrol are mixed. Some research shows that resveratrol may be linked to a lower risk of inflammation and blood clotting, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. However, other studies found no benefits of resveratrol in preventing heart disease. More research is needed to determine whether resveratrol reduces the risk of inflammation and blood clots.

Resveratrol in Grapes, Supplements and Other Foods

The resveratrol in red wine comes from the skins of grapes used in winemaking. Because red wine takes longer to ferment with grape skins than white wine, red wine contains more resveratrol. Simply eating grapes or drinking grape juice could be a way to get resveratrol without drinking alcohol. Red and purple grape juices can have some of the same heart-healthy benefits as red wine.

Peanuts, blueberries, and blueberries also contain some resveratrol. It’s not yet known how beneficial eating grapes, or any other food might be compared to drinking red wine when it comes to promoting heart health. The amount of resveratrol in foods and red wine can vary widely. Resveratrol supplements are also available. However, side effects are uncertain, and research suggests that most resveratrol in supplements cannot be absorbed by the body.

How Might Alcohol Help the Heart?

There’s still no clear evidence that beer, white wine, or liquor aren’t any better than red wine for heart health. Various studies have shown that moderate amounts of all types of alcohol benefit the heart, not just alcohol found in red wine. It’s thought that alcohol:

  • Raises HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
  • Reduces the formation of blood clots
  • Helps prevent artery damage caused by high levels of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
  • May improve the function of the layer of cells that line the blood vessels

Cardiovascular Health

Much research have proven a fantastic hyperlink among slight pink wine ingesting and appropriate coronary heart health.

Recently, a 2019 said that ingesting pink wine is related with a decrease hazard of coronary heart sickness, that’s a main reason of sickness and dying with inside the United States. The authors concluded that pink wine may have cardio protective effects.

However, the American Heart Association (AHA) states that it’s far uncertain if there’s a reason-and-impact relationship, and different elements may also play a role. For example, those who drink pink wine carefully may comply with a greater wholesome way of life or a Mediterranean diet.

The AHA additionally explains that extra alcohol can immediately damage the coronary heart. To live safe, humans must comply with legitimate recommendations from the Centres for Disease and Prevention (CDC), which outline slight ingesting as:

1 glass of wine in line with day for females

2 glasses of wine for males

One glass of wine is five ounces (oz.) of 12% alcohol with the aid of using volume.

Gut Health

A 2018 Trusted Source study reported that polyphenols from red wine and grapes may improve gut microbiota and contribute to a healthy gut. Because the polyphenols in red wine can also act as prebiotics, i.e., compounds that stimulate healthy intestinal bacteria. In 2016, researchers suggested that red wine might reduce the risk of heart disease through its effects on the gut microbiome. Research is limited, however, and clinicians need more evidence before understanding red wine’s true effects on gut health.

Type 2 Diabetes

A 2015 study showed that drinking a glass of red wine with dinner “slightly reduces cardio metabolic risk” in people with type 2 diabetes, and that moderate consumption of red wine is generally safe .Scientists believed that the ethanol in wine plays a crucial role in glucose metabolism and that non-alcoholic ingredients may also play a role. However, more research is needed to confirm the results.

Additionally, a 2018 meta-analysis found that moderate wine consumption did not lower glucose levels and other cardiovascular risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes. Therefore, anyone with diabetes should consult their doctor before drinking alcohol.

Blood Pressure

According to the AHA, resveratrol may lower blood pressure and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. A 2015 study showed that compounds in red wine called procyanidins help keep blood vessels healthy.

Many people find that an alcoholic drink relaxes them. However, studies published in 2017 and 2021 showed that grape products and whole red grape juice could lower blood pressure. These might be healthier options.

However, it’s important to note that drinking too much alcohol can cause high blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythms, or an irregular heartbeat.

Brain Damage After Stroke

A 2015 review reported that resveratrol may help protect against secondary brain damage after stroke or central nervous system injury. This is due to its positive effects on inflammation, oxidative stress, and cell death. A 2018 study found that resveratrol reduced oxidative stress and cell death in rats with traumatic brain injuries. However, both studies showed the effect of resveratrol instead of red wine.

Other Health Benefits of Drinking Red Wine

Red wine has been linked to several other health benefits, many of which are attributed to its powerful antioxidants. Red wine consumption is associated with: 

Reduced risk of cancer: Studies have shown that moderate wine consumption is associated with a reduced risk of several types of cancer, including colon, basal cell, ovarian and prostate cancer 

Reduced risk of dementia: Drinking 1-3 glasses of wine per day has been shown associated with a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

Reduced risk of depression: A study of middle-aged and elderly people showed that those who drank 2 to 7 glasses of wine per week were less likely to become depressed. 

Reducing Insulin Resistance: Drinking 2 glasses of regular or non-alcoholic red wine daily for 4 weeks can reduce insulin resistance. 

Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in women: Moderate red wine consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes in women. It seems clear that moderate amounts of red wine can be good for you. However, there are also some important disadvantages to consider, which are discussed below.

Negative Health Effects of Too Much Alcohol

While moderate amounts of red wine can provide health benefits, consuming too much alcohol can have devastating health effects. 

These include: 

Alcohol dependence: Regular alcohol consumption can get out of control and lead to alcoholism 

Liver cirrhosis: If you consume more than 30 grams of alcohol (about 2 to 3 glasses of wine) per day, the risk of liver disease increases the disease. End-stage liver disease, called cirrhosis, is life-threatening. 

Increased Risk of Depression: Heavy drinkers have a much higher risk of depression than moderate or non-drinkers. 

Weight Gain: Red wine contains twice the calories of beer and sugary soft drinks. Therefore, excess consumption can contribute to high caloric intake and lead to weight gain. 

Increased Risk of Death and Disease: Drinking a lot of wine, even just 1 to 3 days a week, may increase the risk of diabetes in men. Heavy alcohol consumption has also been linked to an increased risk of premature death. 

Should You Drink Red Wine? When Yes, How Much?

If you enjoy drinking red wine, unless you exceed the recommended amount, don’t worry.

In Europe and America, moderate consumption of red wine is considered

1–1.5 glasses a day for women.

1-2 glasses per day for men.

Some sources also recommend going 1-2 days a week without alcohol.

Note that this refers to total alcohol consumption. Drinking this amount of red wine in addition to other alcoholic beverages could easily push you into binge drinking. If you have a history of substance abuse, you should probably avoid wine and other alcoholic beverages altogether. Also, be very careful if you have a family history of alcoholism.

Drink in Moderation or Not at All

The potential heart health benefits of red wine and other alcoholic beverages continue to be studied. Those who drink moderate amounts of alcohol, including red wine, appear to have a lower risk of heart disease.

However, it is important to understand that studies comparing moderate drinkers to non-drinkers may overestimate the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption because non-drinkers may already have health problems. More research is needed before we know if red wine is better for the heart than other forms of alcohol like beer or spirits.

The American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute do not recommend starting alcohol consumption just to prevent heart disease. Alcohol can be addictive and cause or worsen other health problems


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.