According to the Mayo Clinic, “Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and protecting against artery damage.”
That sounds great, but the Mayo Clinic also says, “While the news about red wine might sound great if you enjoy a glass of red wine with your evening meal, doctors are wary of encouraging anyone to start drinking alcohol. That’s because too much alcohol can have many harmful effects on your body.”
How do you decide whether a daily glass of red wine benefits you?
Can you stick with just one or two?
Drinking in moderation means only one 4-ounce glass a day for women and men under 65, and up to two glasses for men under 65. As with any other alcoholic beverage, it’s far too easy to justify having more than one or to drink extra wine without thinking about it.
What does the research actually say?
The Mayo Clinic is cautious about interpreting the studies done on red wine. They note, “Resveratrol might be a key ingredient in red wine that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and prevents blood clots…
Most research on resveratrol has been done on animals, not people. Research in mice given resveratrol suggests that the antioxidant might also help protect them from obesity and diabetes, both of which are strong risk factors for heart disease. However, those findings were reported only in mice, not in people. In addition, to get the same dose of resveratrol used in the mice studies, a person would have to drink more than 1,000 liters of red wine every day…
One study showed that resveratrol may actually reduce the positive effect of exercise on the heart in older men. It’s also important to know that resveratrol’s effects only last a short time after drinking red wine, so its effects may not last in the long term.”
Does only red wine offer health benefits?
Other studies have shown that alcohol in general, not just red wine, can raise HDL cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and reduce your risk of developing blood clots. If you prefer other types of alcohol, drinking them in moderation may be OK. However, please note that the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute do not recommend that you drink merely to improve heart health.
In short, if you already enjoy alcohol in moderation, you can continue to do so. If you do not, talk to your doctor if you wish to begin drinking to improve your heart health. The risk of developing alcohol addiction may be too great to risk it.
Tell us if you drink (or not), and why in the comments section below.
Drinking too much can worsen other health markers, such as blood pressure, obesity risk, and liver damage. Can you stop at just one? If you can’t, please don’t begin drinking wine daily to benefit your heart.