Wine consumption has been part of the human diet for centuries. However, in the last few decades, this practice has become quite common. More and more people are embracing the practice of drinking wine, and specifically, red wine. This has made most people curious about why there is a buzz with red wine.
Is sweet red wine good for you? This is the question most people who are following this new trend are asking. To answer this question, we will comprehensively discuss the benefits and downsides that come with red wine consumption. We will not stand behind existing claims but instead only state what is backed by science. Read on to discover if you should also join in on the trend of drinking red wine.
Red, Red Wine: Are You Worth It?
Wine lovers claim that this alcoholic beverage is indeed worth it. To them, drinking red wine is worth a shot, especially with the growing buzz surrounding this drink as healthy for all. It is certainly true that a glass or two of this drink will make you feel good.
However, the question is, will it benefit your health in any way? After all, you will want to consume something that benefits your health, in addition to making you feel good. Now here comes the tricky part.
A glass or two of red wine can indeed have some health benefits. However, anything exceeding this limit can be potentially harmful. As such, most people refer to wine as a double-edged sword.
Before discussing the risks that come with excessive consumption of red wine, let us first discuss why it is good for you. Here are some valid reasons why:
It Can Improve Your Cardiovascular Health
Cardiovascular diseases have become growing health concerns and are among the major causes of death globally. They include diseases such as coronary heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in America (9).
There is a belief that drinking a glass or two of red wine could reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, this is not always the case. You might be consuming one glass of red wine daily yet still report poor heart health.
Red wine can only improve your cardiovascular health if it is consumed in moderation and coupled with other healthy lifestyle changes (9). For example, you can improve your heart health if you eat healthy meals and then regulate your wine intake.
All this involves consuming high-fiber foods, plenty of fruits, whole grains, and vegetables (13). These are some of the foods that are known to keep your heart healthy. The trick is to, therefore, also consider implementing other healthy lifestyle changes that can boost your cardiovascular health.
It Improves Your Gut Health
A healthy balance of bacteria in your intestinal tract is crucial for your gut health and helps with various body functions.
They include food digestion, regulation of immune functioning, and helping with vitamin K production, which is mainly responsible for blood clotting (6).
According to WebMD, red wine contains plant-based compounds known as polyphenols. They are defense chemicals that are naturally found in both fruits and vegetables (11). Since wine tends to be made from grapes, red wine tends to contain some traces of these compounds.
Polyphenols help in bringing about the balance of your intestinal bacteria, thereby improving your gut health (6). Polyphenols also contain antioxidants that tend to have numerous health properties and benefits.
Similarly, Medical News Today acknowledges that red wine also contains various compounds that act as prebiotics. Prebiotics help feeding healthy gut bacteria (9). It means that you can consume red wine to improve your gut health.
However, before doing that, make sure you seek professional help from a doctor or dietitian. They might recommend other methods that work best depending on your health, needs, and individual factors.
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It Can Help with Type 2 Diabetes Management
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common forms of diabetes. If you have been diagnosed with it, it means that your body is insulin resistant (14). Although there is no cure to diabetes, various practices can be implemented to help with better management of this health condition.
One of these practices involves a healthy diet (14). However, Medical News Today, also acknowledges that drinking one glass of red wine can help with this condition. According to the site, red wine could decrease your cardiometabolic risk if you have type 2 diabetes (9).
According to research, the wine could metabolize glucose, further helping in the better management of type 2 diabetes (9). Nonetheless, you have to check with your doctor before consuming red wine for this sole purpose.
It Lowers Your Bad Cholesterol Levels
In addition to a healthy heart, a glass or two of red wine can also lower your bad cholesterol levels. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) is commonly referred to as bad cholesterol. This is believed to be bad as it contains a higher ratio of cholesterol to protein (4).
Excessive LDL levels in your body are quite harmful. They increase your risk of conditions such as stroke, peripheral artery diseases, atherosclerosis, heart attack, and heart disease (4). WebMD states that red wine can protect the lining of your arteries from damage caused by high LDL levels.
This is because your sweet red wine contains phenols that prevent any injury arising from the bad cholesterol (3). You can determine if you have high LDL protein levels by doing blood tests that is overseen by a medical professional.
In such a case, you would want lower numbers in the results as lower numbers indicate safer cholesterol ranges. Always ask your doctor about the best practices to lower your LDL levels. Below is an overview of optimal, high, and low levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol (10):
- Safe or optimal range- Anything lower than 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
- Near or above optimal- 100-129 mg/dL
- Borderline high- 130-159 mg/dL
- High- 160-189 mg/dL
- Extremely high- Anything above 190 mg/dL
It Can Reduce Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is also another alarming health condition in society today. Due to its potentially fatal consequences, people are taking matters into their hands and implementing practices that regulate their blood pressure.
One practice wine lovers believe can help with reducing blood pressure is taking a glass of red wine. The question is, does this work or is this another wine myth? Based on the comprehensive discussion by Medical News Today, it appears that red wine can indeed help you lower your blood pressure (9).
What happens is that most red wine contains an antioxidant known as resveratrol. Resveratrol is responsible for reducing your blood pressure as well as increasing the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol (9).
Similarly, red wine also contains compounds known as procyanidins. These compounds help in keeping your blood vessels healthy. It, therefore, makes red wine a healthy option among other alcoholic beverages. Nonetheless, you still need professional advice to determine the healthiest red wine option.
Red Wine Can Reduce Your Risk Of Several Cancers
Alcohol is one of the primary contributors to neck and head cancer. It results in these two specific cancers as excessive alcohol intake bombards your genes (8). However, research from Science Daily suggests that red wine can reduce your risk of several cancers.
According to the site, it is because red wine contains resveratrol obtained from the grape skins that it can help with cancer prevention (8). Resveratrol is a polyphenol known for protecting cells from being damaged.
It destroys all the cells with unrepaired DNA damage so that they do not become a cancer (8). Red wine has been known to reduce your risk of the following types of cancers:
- Lung cancer. Red wine has an antioxidant that prevents lung cancer, especially among men who smoke (12). However, research shows that only moderate consumption of red wine can help in reducing this risk in men.
- Breast cancer. Alcohol increases your estrogen levels, one of the primary contributors to the growth of cancer cells in the breast (9). Research shows that drinking red wine in moderation gives your body aromatase inhibitors (AIs). These tend to reduce your estrogen levels, thereby decreasing your risk of getting breast cancer (9).
- Prostate cancer. Medical News Today also states that men who drink red wine in moderation may also reduce their risk of prostate cancer. The site suggests that red wine is linked with lower risk of the progression of this fatal illness (9).
Read More: Wine and Belly Fat: What’s the Deal?
It May Promote Weight Loss
One reason perhaps why there is a buzz about red wine is because of its link to weight loss. Let’s face it, with the rising consequences of sedentary lifestyles, most people have been left looking for ways to shed extra pounds.
The thing is, hardly do people want to kill themselves in the gym and then return home to a prohibition from drinking red wine. This means to say that most people are still holding on dearly to their favorite drinks and meals. It has, therefore, been a relief to many to discover that red wine can help with weight loss.
According to Science Daily, this is only possible due to the boost of metabolism arising from red wine consumption. The site states red wine intake boosts metabolism or burning of fat in the liver, thereby helping you shed some pounds (2).
However, you cannot increase the metabolism in the liver by drinking more red wine. You must stick to the recommended limit and practice other dietary and lifestyle practices that can promote weight loss. They include exercises and healthy eating.
It Can Increase Longevity
Moderate wine consumption can also promote longevity by reducing the risk of chronic diseases (16). Red wine could help in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, cognitive decline, cancer, depression, and metabolic syndrome. All of these are examples of chronic diseases.
Most of these conditions could be fatal, and they may end up reducing your longevity. By reducing the risk of these conditions, red wine serves to help you live longer. Again, red wine can only contribute a fraction of this effect. You can only promote longevity by eating a nutritious and balanced diet, maintaining good health, and also exercising (16). So, make sure you also work on all of these if you want to live longer.
Risks Of Drinking Red Wine
Although sipping red wine after a meal does you good, it also results in some bad. It is a sad truth that most wine lovers are not willing to believe. The thing is, drinking red wine can be hazardous if you exceed the recommended limits. It will result in some detrimental health effects.
Likewise, the red wine health benefits will disappear if you take too much of it. So, do not be fooled into thinking that you will reap the red wine benefits no matter how much you consume. It does not work like that.
According to WebMD, consuming large amounts of wine can result in the following (15):
- Trouble walking
- Heart diseases and problems
- Certain cancers
- Fatty liver disease
- Mental health conditions
- Liver damage
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Should You Drink Red Wine?
Looking at the benefits of red wine, you might think you need to start consuming red wine immediately. Keep in mind that these benefits should not coerce you into wine consumption if you were not drinking it before.
However, if you want to reap any of these benefits, you can have a sit down with a medical professional. They are better suited to giving you the go-ahead to start enjoying a glass or two of red wine. However, they will emphasize a couple of things. These include:
The Wine Choice
In most cases, most people pick a red wine option that satisfies their taste buds. There is nothing wrong with this. However, you are asked to look for more in wine than just its taste. You also need to evaluate its calories.
Here is the thing, every food and drink tends to contain calories. These calories may hinder the fat-burning process, especially if you are not active. Consequently, you tend to gain weight. Understanding this is pivotal as it helps you understand why you might not be losing weight despite various interventions.
So, go through the calories in each type of red wine before you purchase or consume it. Here is an overview of calories contained in 5 ounces of specific types of red wine (7):
- Barbera- 125 calories
- Zinfandel- 129 calories
- Sangiovese- 126 calories
- Cabernet, Syrah- 122 calories
- Burgundy- 127 calories
- Pinot Noir- 121 calories
Red Wine: Things To Consider
No matter how beneficial red wine is, you should avoid alcohol consumption if you are not of age. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the minimum legal drinking age in the U.S. is 21 years (1). It is, therefore, highly likely that your doctor will not recommend wine consumption if you are below 21 years.
Although you might be looking for more health benefits, your health status may restrict you from drinking red wine. It is especially the case when you have various existing health conditions. They include gout, asthma, insomnia, liver diseases, heart diseases, high blood pressure, and hypertriglyceridemia (15).
Your healthcare provider may also not recommend red wine consumption if you are on certain medications. For example, medication such as Chlorpropamide, Cyclosporine, Felodipine, and Cisapride (15).
After looking at this list of red wine health benefits, you might develop the desire to reap one or two. As such, you may add red wine to your daily diet plan. First and foremost, you are not advised to make any dietary changes without seeking professional help and advice.
Secondly, you are not advised to make a dietary change for a specific purpose without consultation. You have to sit down with a professional to determine if red wine could be beneficial for you. In some cases, you can attain various goals using more significant and feasible methods.
For example, for weight loss, you are guaranteed much faster results through exercise and healthy eating. So, before jumping head first into a red wine collection, do your research. Find out what practice, food, drink, or intervention can help you attain your goal faster and safer.
The Bottom Line
Is sweet red wine good for you? Well, it could be. However, it is only good and beneficial if you stick within a moderate amount. Remember that women are advised to drink only one glass of red wine a day. On the other hand, men are advised to drink only two glasses of red wine daily.
If you stick to these ranges, you should get to enjoy more than this drink. In addition, you could enjoy numerous health benefits. These include improved cardiovascular health, gut health, and longevity, and reduced risk of bad cholesterol, chronic diseases, and several cancers.
Remember to talk to a healthcare provider before you add red wine to your diet plan. They have to make sure that you tick the various boxes that allow you to go ahead and enjoy this sweet drink.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Age 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age (2020, cdc.gov)
- Another reason to drink wine: It could help you burn fat, study suggests (2015, sciencedaily.com)
- Bottoms Up (2001, webmd.com)
- Cholesterol Management (2020, medicinenet.com)
- Dietary Guidelines for Alcohol (2020, cdc.gov)
- Drinking Red Wine is Good for Gut Bacteria (2012, webmd.com)
- How Many Calories Are in Your Wine? (2017, webmd.com)
- How red wine prevents cancer (2014, sciencedaily.com)
- Is red wine good for you? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- LDL Cholesterol (2020, webmd.com)
- Red wine benefits linked to better gut health, study finds (2019, sciencedaily.com)
- Red Wine May Lower Lung Cancer Risk (2008, sciencedaily.com)
- What are the benefits of eating healthy? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Wine (2020, webmd.com)
- Wine: An Aspiring Agent in Promoting Longevity and Preventing Chronic Diseases (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)