Anyone who’s familiar with the Mediterranean diet has likely heard that red wine is part of the healthy eating plan. It contains antioxidants and is thought to have heart-health benefits (6). But what about white wine? Is it also good for you? The lesser researched yet sweeter cousin of red wine, white wine, has its own possible health benefits that make it worth sipping. From lowering the risk of stroke to cognitive gains, here are nine science-backed reasons to pour yourself a glass of vino blanco.
It’s Rich In Antioxidants
Your body needs antioxidants to help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause oxidative stress, which has been linked to chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer (6).
While containing fewer than red wine, white wine is still a good source of important antioxidants called phenols. It contains a phenol called caffeic acid, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. White wine also contains ferulic acid, another phenol with potent antioxidant activity (5).
It May Help Lower The Risk Of Stroke
Stroke is a leading cause of death worldwide. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to your brain is interrupted, causing brain cells to die (17).
There are two main types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes, which account for about 87% of all strokes, are caused by a blood clot. Hemorrhagic strokes happen when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds (17).
One study found that moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a lower risk of ischemic stroke (13).
It May Help Lower The Risk Of Dementia
Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80% of cases (4).
Research suggests that light to moderate alcohol consumption may be associated with a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However, most studies have also found that high levels of alcohol consumption may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (15).
The possible cognitive benefits of white wine may be due to its phenol content. Some phenols, like resveratrol, are known to promote brain health. However, most studies do not distinguish the type of alcohol consumed when studying its effects on dementia risk (15).
It May Help Lower The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes Complications
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when your body can’t properly respond to insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. If left uncontrolled, type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health complications, including heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure (16).
One study found that moderate white wine consumption was associated with a lower risk of diabetic retinopathy, a diabetes complication affecting the eyes (14).
It May Help Lower The Risk Of Certain Cancers
Cancer is a broad term for a group of diseases that occur when abnormal cells grow out of control.
Studies have shown mixed results when it comes to wine intake and cancer (21). Moderate wine consumption has been associated with lower risk of certain types of cancer, while any alcohol or wine intake has been associated with increased risk of others. Some studies have found no association.
It May Help You Lose Weight
White wine contains epicatechin, quercetin, and other polyphenols that have been suggested to boost metabolism and promote weight loss (21). What’s more, white wine is lower in calories than some other alcoholic beverages.
For example, a 5-ounce (148 mL) serving of chardonnay has about 123 calories, while a spirit mixed with a sugary beverage can have many more (3).
However, wine and other alcoholic beverages can easily contribute to weight gain because they contain calories but don’t provide any feeling of fullness.
It May Lower Your Risk Of Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to your heart muscle is interrupted, causing the muscle to die (18).
Some studies have found that moderate wine consumption may be associated with lower risk of heart disease or improvements in certain markers of cardiovascular health (21).
Is It Okay To Drink White Wine Every Day?
While moderate white wine consumption may offer some health benefits, it’s important to remember that too much alcohol can be harmful. Drinking more than one glass of white wine every day for extended periods of time can increase your risk of:
Alcohol is high in calories and can contribute to weight gain. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s best to avoid alcohol or drink in moderation (11).
High Blood Pressure
When you drink alcohol, your blood pressure rises. Over time, this can exacerbate hypertension or high blood pressure (11).
Your liver is responsible for breaking down alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can damage your liver and lead to serious health complications (11).
Increased Risk Of Skin Cancer
While moderate white wine consumption may lower the risk of some types of cancer, it can also increase the risk of skin cancer. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage the DNA in your skin cells, causing them to grow out of control (19).
Melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, is more common in people who drink alcohol, and white wine in particular may increase risk (19).
To reduce your risk of melanoma, it’s important to limit your white wine consumption and wear sunscreen when you’re outdoors.
White wine is so much more acidic than other red wines and may affect the acidity in your stomach (9).
Drinking too much white wine can trigger acid reflux or heartburn. Acid reflux occurs when the acidic contents of your stomach flow back up into your esophagus. This can cause a burning sensation in your chest or throat (9).
Over time, acid reflux can damage your esophagus and lead to other health complications.
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White Wine Vs. Red Wine: What’s The Difference?
The difference between white and red wine extends beyond color and taste and has implications for your health.
First, let’s look at the process of making white and red wine. Both are made from fermented grape juice.
Grapes are picked and crushed to release their juice. The juice is then fermented with yeast, which converts the sugar in the grape juice into alcohol.
For white wine, the crushed grapes are pressed and the juice is collected. The skins, seeds, and stems are removed and the juice is fermented.
Red wine is made in a similar fashion, but the grape skins are left in during fermentation. This is what gives red wine its color. The skin also contains important compounds, like tannins and phenols.
Because red wine contains more of these beneficial compounds than white wine it is often touted as being healthier than white wine.
Drinking Wine For Its Health Benefits
If you’re going to drink wine for the health benefits, it’s important to do so in moderation. The American Heart Association recommends a daily limit of alcohol intake to no more than two drinks for men, and one drink for women, respectively (12).
A standard glass of white wine is 5 ounces (148 mL). Keep in mind that the alcohol content of white wine can vary. For example, a glass of dessert wine may have twice the amount of alcohol as a glass of white table wine (20, 2).
It’s also important to remember that alcohol itself is toxic to the body, and any benefits can be quickly outweighed by damage from the toxic effects of alcohol. That is why moderation is important. Additionally, health professionals would not recommend that you start drinking if you don’t currently or increase your alcohol intake in the hopes of gaining any health benefit.
In addition, following these tips will help you get the most health benefits from your wine if you do already drink it:
- Choose dry wines over sweet wines. Dry wines have a lower sugar content and are thus better for your health.
- Drink organic wine whenever possible. Wine made with organic grapes is free of pesticides.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Eating food will help slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream.
- Pair wine with water. Drinking a glass of water in between glasses of wine will help keep you hydrated.
- Snack on healthy foods. Eating nuts or cheese with your wine can help offset the alcohol’s effects on your blood sugar levels.
White wine is a type of alcoholic beverage made from fermented grape juice.
Moderate white wine consumption may offer some health benefits, including reducing the risk of certain types of cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
However, drinking too much white wine can be harmful. Drinking more than one glass of white wine every day for extended periods of time can increase your risk of poor sleep, weight gain, high blood pressure, liver damage, and acid reflux.
If you’re concerned about your alcohol intake, it’s best to speak with your doctor.
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!
- Alcoholic beverage, distilled, vodka, 80 proof (2019, usda.gov)
- Alcoholic beverage, wine, table, white (2019, usda.gov)
- Alcoholic beverage, wine, table, white, Chardonnay (2019, usda.gov)
- Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (2020, cdc.gov)
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- Disturbed Sleep and Its Relationship to Alcohol Us (2009, nih.gov)
- Effect of moderate white wine consumption on serum IgA and plasma insulin under fasting conditions (2006, pubmed.gov)
- Gastroesophageal reflux induced by white wine: the role of acid clearance and “rereflux” (2002, pubmed.gov)
- Health Benefits of Probiotics: A Review (2013, nih.gov)
- Health Risks and Benefits of Alcohol Consumption (2000, nih.gov)
- Limiting Alcohol to Manage High Blood Pressure (2016, heart.org)
- Moderate alcohol consumption reduces risk of ischemic stroke: the Northern Manhattan Study (2005, europepmc.org)
- Moderate consumption of white and fortified wine is associated with reduced odds of diabetic retinopathy (2015, nih.gov)
- Relationship of Wine Consumption with Alzheimer’s Disease (2020, nih.gov)
- Type 2 Diabetes (2021, nih.gov)
- Types of Stroke (n.d., hopkinsmedicine.org)
- What Is a Heart Attack? (2022, nih.gov)
- White wine linked to higher risk of certain melanomas (2017, harvard.edu)
- Wine, dessert, sweet (2020, usda.gov)
- Wine: An Aspiring Agent in Promoting Longevity and Preventing Chronic Diseases (2018, nih.gov)