You’ve probably heard that a glass of red wine is good for your heart and maybe, that it can keep your cholesterol down. You might have also read that cutting out alcohol can improve your sleep, support a healthy gut, and reduce your anxiety.
But what does the science say? Should you be pouring yourself a glass with dinner or emptying your liquor cabinet?
First off, let’s clarify how much wine experts feel can have beneficial effects. Moderate drinking is defined as 1 glass per day (2 for larger men). If you’re drinking more than that, you’re likely negating any health benefits.
Secondly, red wine is often singled out as an alcoholic drink that can have health benefits because of the presence of Resveratrol, which is a phytonutrient that has shown potential to boost heart health and protect against some kinds of cancer. Resveratrol comes from the skin of the wine grape themselves so you can digest it by eating them directly instead of sipping on Merlot. It’s also found in blueberries, cranberries, and peanuts.
Let’s get back to red wine.
Very recent studies have shown that moderate consumption of red wine can actually improve your chances of a longer life. These findings back up similar conclusions from a 2015 study that also found it had a positive effect on those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
The connection between red wine and heart health isn’t as clear. One study acknowledged that certain variables came into play that made results from some research unclear- someone who doesn’t drink may be a recovering alcoholic or suffer from other health issues. Therefore, their current health status couldn’t be attributed to abstaining from any alcohol. Nevertheless, when these sorts of subjects were removed, one study still showed that a daily glass of red wine may protect against heart attacks, strokes, chest pain and fatal heart disease.
The benefits of red wine also vary depending on gender, age, BMI, and ethnicity. But overall moderate (which is the key word here) consumption of red wine can not only improve heart health but lower inflammation. It’s also shown to lower the chances of prostate cancer for men.
Before you grab your boxed wine, know that quality matters. Added sulfites in red wine can contribute or cause migraines or headaches.
So what is the takeaway from all this research? A glass of red wine every day can have various health benefits but it depends on the person. For some people, even a little alcohol can worsen sleep or anxiety. The consensus is that you’ll see a negative effect on your health if you’re pouring more than one glass a day!
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