Cheers to a "Healthy" Glass of Red Wine

January 29, 2015 Providence Health Team

Is having a glass or two of red wine with your dinner a secret elixir in fighting the effects of aging? Can a beverage ward off heart disease? Or are these assumptions just a bunch of hooey? 

Plenty of medical researchers say it’s true: drinking red wine (in moderation) does offer health benefits – especially for your heart. 

Drinking a glass at night isn’t harmful – and it may help 

In fact, some studies suggest a glass or two of red wine each day prevents blood vessel damage and reduces damaging low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Lower LDL levels help reduce the risk of blood clots. 

Red wine can add a rosy glow to your face and reduce the chance you’ll get a precancerous skin lesion called actinic keratosis. And older folks will be pleased to learn that moderate wine consumption may lower their risk of Alzheimer’s disease. 

  • Raising a glass of wine to your health can offer these benefits:
  • A drink at dinner can help dissolve a stressful day.
  • Its antioxidants may protect your heart.
  • A daily toast can help keep the common cold at bay.
  • Red wine may inhibit cancer-feeding proteins. 

Its heart-healthy properties most likely come from antioxidant ingredients that contain resveratrol. University of Virginia researchers also say resveratrol consumed from drinking one to four glasses of red wine a week may help starve nascent cancer cells. Other medical studies show resveratrol may reduce inflammation. 

Not everyone agrees 

But not everyone agrees about the benefits of drinking red wine. 

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers take a contrarian view of resveratrol. Their study downplays its effectiveness controlling heart disease and fighting the aging process. The researchers’ advice to people wanting to stay healthy: eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains. So, the research continues. 

Raise a glass – in moderation only

If you’re one of red-wine’s advocates, here’s a cautionary note: if you’re a teetotaler, by all means don’t start just to get a leg up on heart disease or other chronic ailments. There are other, more effective things you can do to stay healthy. 

As the Johns Hopkins researchers suggest, you’re better off to start and maintain a nutritious diet by eating healthy foods. Fruits such as blueberries and pomegranates also offer beneficial polyphenols and antioxidants. Although the majority of studies indicate that drinking red wine offers some health benefits, they all confirm it’s realized only through moderate drinking habits – up to one glass of wine a day for a woman, two for a man. 

If you have a history of heart problems, stay clear of any alcohol consumption. We are sadly aware that excessive drinking contributes to high blood pressure, liver damage, some cancers, obesity, high triglycerides and behavioral issues. 

If you’re already drinking a glass with dinner each night, continue to enjoy what our local wineries have to offer. It might just provide a minor boost to your health. 

...and speaking of boosting your health.

We recently interviewed Paul (87) and Nancy (80) Wegeman who have been married for 60 years and are, in our opinion, the poster children for aging well. We got them to sit down with us and share their secrets!


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