Is red wine good for you?

Is red wine good for you

Red wine is often lauded as a health drink, but what does the evidence actually show? Could it help improve heart health, prevent cancer and other diseases? Does it also promote weight loss? Let’s take a look at the research to see if there are any real benefits to drinking it.

Is red wine good for your heart?

Resveratrol, a phytonutrient found in red wine, may be a key component that makes this drink heart healthy. 

Drank in in moderate amounts, it has long been thought to be heart healthy. It’s thought that the alcohol and antioxidants found in red wine can help prevent heart attacks, by inhibiting the development of atherosclerosis.

There’s no clear explanation for why it may be linked to a lower incidence of heart problems. However, antioxidants in this drink 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, especially if you or someone in your family has a history of alcohol abuse. 

If you already drink a glass of wine with dinner, continuing to drink it in moderation may benefit your heart health.

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 also 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 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.

Do other types of alcohol help the heart?

There is still no consensus that beer, white wine, or spirits are superior to red wine in terms of heart health.

Moderate amounts of all types of alcohol have been shown to be good for the heart in several studies. It’s thought that alcohol can:

  • Improve 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 is too much?

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 spirit


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 enjoy it, drinking it in moderation may benefit your heart health. But 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. Make sure you talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about drinking red wine or alcohol in general.