Red Wine – Heart Health Benefits?
Red wine gets their color from grapes with red and purple skins. Cabernet Sauvignon’s intense flavor and complexity make it one of the most recognized red wine grapes. Merlot, with higher sugar levels and lower tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon, has been experiencing increased popularity in recent decades. Pinot Noir, the red grape of France’s Burgundy region, is another fine variety of red wine.
Health Benefits of Red Wine
Does red wine protect against heart disease? Maybe. Many studies investigated the benefits of red wine suggested that moderate amount of red wine lowers the risk of heart attack for people in middle age by ~ 30 to 50 percent. It is also suggested that alcohol such as red wine may prevent additional heart attacks if you have already suffered from one. Other studies also indicated that red wine can raise HDL cholesterol (the Good cholesterol) and prevent LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) from forming. Red wine may help prevent blood clots and reduce the blood vessel damage caused by fat deposits. Indeed, studies showed that people from the Mediterranean region who regularly drank red wine have lower risks of heart disease.
What’s in Red Wine that is Good for Heart?
Red wine is a particularly rich source of antioxidants flavonoid phenolics. Many studies to uncover a cause for red wine’s effects have focused on its phenolic constituents, particularly resveratrol and the flavonoids. Resveratrol, found in grape skins and seeds, increases HDL cholesterol and prevent blood clotting. Flavonoids, on the other hand, exhibit antioxidant properties helping prevent blood clots and plaques formation in arteries.
Should I start drinking more red wine now?
The answer is No. Studies showed that alcohol drinking may increase triglycerides and result in weight gain due to its empty calories. Other studies also suggested that alcohol consumption is associated with cancer risk. Read Alcohol and Cancer. The American Heart Association cautions people NOT to start drinking if they do not already drink alcohol. If you already drink alcohol, do so in moderation. AHA recommends one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
A serving of alcoholic drink is:
- 12 oz. beer or wine cooler
- 5 oz. of red or white wine
- 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits
- 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits
Nutritional Data of Red Wine (5-oz serving)
- ~ 3.6 grams of carb
- 120 calories
The Bottom Line
Red wine is not the only food that offers heart health benefits. Grapes, fruits and vegetables, fish, and whole grains offer similar benefits as seen in red wine. Enjoy your occasional red wine, and eat a balanced diet with lots of colorful plant-based foods!
Alumni: University of British Columbia – Gloria Tsang is the author of 6 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.