Red Wine: Should You Pour a Glass Daily?

Many believe that a daily glass of red wine is an essential part of a healthy diet. Meanwhile, others consider the alcoholic beverage as overrated and awful for the health.

Let’s review both sides to determine whether red wine is good or bad.

Top Benefits of Red Wine

Red wine is often thought to be responsible for the “French paradox.” It refers to the perception that the French have low rates of heart disease, regardless of their excessive consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol.

Some experts note that red wine is the dietary agent protecting the French from the damaging effects of these nutrients. However, the scientific evidence claiming that red wine can help avoid heart disease is weak, says Dr. Kenneth Mukamal, an internist at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Fortunately, red wine has many other health benefits with substantial scientific evidence. Several of which attributes to wine’s potent antioxidants, including resveratrol.

Drinking red wine promotes:

  • Decreased cancer risks. Studies show that moderate consumption of wine reduces the risk for certain cancers. These include cancer of the colon, ovary, prostate, and basal cell.
  • Lowered risk of memory disorders. Drinking one to three glasses of wine per day may reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Reduced risk of depression. A study involving the elderly revealed that people who drank two to seven glasses of wine each week were less prone to depression.
  • Lowered risk of type 2 diabetes. Moderate red wine consumption may decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes in women.

Negative Health Effects of Red Wine

If you drink wine for the resveratrol content, most medical professionals would suggest getting it from a supplement instead. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to devastating health effects, such as:

  • Liver cirrhosis. If you drink over 30 grams of alcohol (about three glasses of wine) each day, your risk of developing liver disease rises. End-stage liver disease, also called cirrhosis, is fatal.
  • Alcohol dependence. High intake of red wine can cause alcoholism.
  • Increased risk of depression. While moderate levels of red wine may lower the risk of depression, being a heavy drinker increases the chance of having depression.
  • Weight gain. Wine contains double the amount of calories as beer and sugary drinks. Drinking red wine in excess may, therefore, contribute to unhealthy weight gain.
  • Increased risk of diabetes and death: In men, drinking too much wine can raise the risk of developing diabetes. Excessive alcohol intake may also increase the risk of premature death.

How Much Red Wine is Too Much?

If you love drinking wine after a long day at work, there is no need to worry as long as you follow the recommended amount for Americans. These are:

  • 1–2 glasses a day for men
  • 1–1.5 glasses a day for women

Some sources also advise a full day or two without alcohol each week.

Keep in mind that drinking this amount of red wine, in addition to other alcoholic refreshments, could lead to uncontrollable consumption. If you have a history of substance abuse or alcoholism, avoid drinking wine and other intoxicating beverages altogether. None of the health benefits of red wine are worthy of encouraging alcoholism.

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22852062
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25427916
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25705818
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24851878
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11830193
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23134690
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16759314