Red Wine – Good or Bad for Your Heart?

Apr 15, 2015
Wine is perhaps the most sophisticated form of alcohol, viewed as an expensive drink to be had sparingly at fancy parties, savored glass by glass.

Red Wine – Good or Bad guy?
Wine is perhaps the most sophisticated form of alcohol, viewed as an expensive drink to be had sparingly at fancy parties, savored glass by glass. Red and white wine are extremely different, but there isn’t a set argument as to whether one is better than the other. However, there are rumors that alcohol in small quantities – specifically red wine – may actually benefit your health. You’ve heard about how excessive drinking is bad for your health; it causes liver damage, inhibits your senses, and can lead to poor decisions and life-altering accidents. Binge drinking every night is not encouraged, but rather warned against.

Increase in good Cholesterol

As a result of the grapes used in creating it, red wine contains antioxidants, which counteract the effect of oxidation. Such antioxidants may be able to either increase the consumer’s level of ‘good’ cholesterol, or lower the level of ‘bad’ cholesterol. These antioxidants may also help protect against damage to the arteries of the heart, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. 

 Resveratrol, the magic content
A particular antioxidant called resveratrol is responsible for this, as it helps protect the lining of blood vessels in the heart. Resveratrol is found in red grape skin, which is perhaps why it is said red wine specifically – not white – has more health benefits. It is supposed that resveratrol could work by helping to activate a protein that helps prevent heart inflammation, keeping the heart healthier. Some have also begun to speculate that resveratrol might even prevent fat cells from maturing fully, which could prevent obesity. Resveratrol is often sold as a supplement in capsule form.

Advertisements for such supplements claim that resveratrol helps with weight loss, and may even contain anti-aging properties. These statements are currently being disputed, as scientists are not entirely sure what properties resveratrol possesses. A few of the supposed benefits include prevention of blood clots that could lead to a heart attack, limitation of the spreading of cancer cells, protection of nerve cells from plaque buildup that could lead to Alzheimer’s, and prevention of diabetes through prevention of insulin resistance. 

French Paradox
Some support in the theory that red wine prevents heart disease can be found in what has been called the ‘French paradox.’ The French diet consists of many foods high in saturated fat; however, less of the French people die as a result of heart disease than do people in countries with a lower intake of saturated fat. Although it has never been proven that French consumption of red wine is the cause, many people suspect that wine is the solution.

A study in Copenhagen, in which over thirteen thousand men and women were observed over the course of twelve years, suggested that those who drink red wine halve their risk of dying from stroke or heart disease. While some studies have shown similar results, others have not; red wine’s benefits have not been proven to be completely true.

No concrete evidence
Although there have been studies that seem to prove that red wine really is beneficial to your health, there still isn’t much concrete evidence. What could seem to be the work of red wine could, in fact, be induced by other foods in people’s diets, or other aspects of their daily lives. Someone who exercises regularly and eats healthily, for example, is less at risk for stroke or heart disease than someone who dose not exercise and consumes large quantities of unhealthy food.

Limit your drink
Even if red wine proves to be beneficial to the health of your heart, too much of it can be harmful. Overindulgence in alcohol not only affects the liver, it affects the brain, heart, immune system, and pancreas as well. Even though you may drink red wine to try and make your heart healthier, you could seriously damage it. Excessive drinking – whether it be in a short period or over time – can cause the heart muscle to stretch or droop, and can make your heartbeat irregular. Too much alcohol also increases your blood pressure and your risk of stroke. American heart association recommends no more than 2 drinks for male and 1 drink for females and elderly. Pregnant patients should not take alcohol.

It’s a fine line between drinking for health and overdoing it, and wine is not a superdrink. Red wine will not cure your heart problems, nor will it extremely decrease your risk of heart disease or stroke. Red wine is only a stepping-stone at most, a little nudge in the right direction for your body. It is not something to be relied on, and overindulgence can really hurt your body. So although you may be curious to experiment, to see if the theories about antioxidants and red wine’s power are really true, beware. Don’t overdo it, and always play it safe.