Are there really health benefits from red wine or other alcohol?
Red wine has received a lot of attention for its potential effects on heart health. Resveratrol is a polyphenol found in red wine that may help prevent damage to blood vessels, reduce “bad” cholesterol (LDL), and prevent blood clots.
Additionally, researchers are finding that moderate amounts of all types of alcohol, not just red wine, may be beneficial for the heart. Similar to red wine, moderate amounts of other alcoholic beverages may help prevent damage to blood vessels and prevent blood clots.
Drink in moderation or not at all
Though moderate alcohol can benefit health in some ways, drinking too much may increase your risk of high blood pressure, high triglycerides, liver damage, obesity, certain types of cancer, accidents, and other problems.
In fact, when it comes to heart disease, researchers have found there to be a U-shaped relationship between drinking red wine or other alcohol and coronary heart disease. This means that those who drink just 1-2 drinks per day may have a reduced risk of heart disease, but those who drink more than that tend to have an increased risk of heart disease.
If you are going to drink, drink in moderation. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans define moderate alcohol consumption as one drink per day for women and two drinks for men. A drink is defined as 12 ounces (355 mL) of beer, 5 ounces (148 mL) of wine or 1.5 ounces (44 mL) of 80-proof distilled spirits.
How alcohol fits into the Mediterranean Diet:
- If alcohol is consumed, it is most often red wine and only 1-2 glasses a day.
- Generally, alcohol is consumed WITH food at a meal instead of on its own.