According to the Mayo Clinic, consuming red wine in moderation can be heart-healthy. Anti-oxidants known as flavonoids and a substance known as resveratrol, which are found in red wine, may help prevent heart disease by increasing the amounts of “good” cholesterol in your body.
However, the jury is still out as to whether red wine is better than other forms of alcohol when it comes to providing heart-healthy benefits. Beer, white wine and liquor may provide some of their own benefits.
The resveratrol found in red wine, may be the key ingredient that helps reduce “bad” cholesterol, protects the lining found within the blood vessels of your heart, and prevents blood clots.
Resveratrol research done on mice, has suggested that this particular antioxidant may also protect against obesity and diabetes, both of which increase risk factors for heart disease. However, research has not yet been done on humans, and to get the same resveratrol dose used in the studies on mice, a person would have to consume more than 60 liters of red wine each day.
The resveratrol found in red wine comes from the skin of the grapes used to make the wine. Red wine is fermented with the grape skins longer than white wine, which accounts for the higher levels of resveratrol found in red wine. It has been suggested then, that simply consuming grapes or drinking red and purple grape juices, may give you some of the same benefits as drinking red wine.
Peanuts, blueberries and cranberries also contain resveratrol. It is unknown how beneficial it may be to consume these other foods as compared to drinking red wine. The amounts of resveratrol found in food sources and red wine can vary widely.
All types of alcohol may benefit your heart by: reducing formation of blood clots, preventing artery damage done by “bad” cholesterol (LDL), and increasing the “good” cholesterol (HDL) levels. The key is moderation. Drinking too much alcohol, including red wine, can increase your chances of liver damage, high blood pressure, obesity, certain types of cancer, high triglycerides, cardiomyopathy (weakened heart muscle), accidents and other problems.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “moderate drinking is defined as an average of two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.” A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine and 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.
The potential heart-healthy benefits of red wine look promising, and those who drink it in moderate amounts seem to show a lower overall risk for heart disease.