Red wine contains powerful antioxidants, and many sources claim that drinking it may be good for health. However, drinking too much red wine may cause problems.
This article explores the benefits and risks of drinking red wine, including the safe amount to drink for males, females, and different age groups.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
Red wine has been part of social, religious, and cultural events for centuries. In the past, people have
In recent years, science has indicated that there could be truth in these claims.
Although there are no official recommendations around these benefits, a
Learn more about drinking in moderation.
Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress has clear links with many diseases, including cancers and heart disease.
There are many healthful antioxidant-rich foods, including fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
Whole grapes and berries are better sources of resveratrol than red wine, and because of the health risks linked with drinking alcohol, getting antioxidants from foods is likely to have more health benefits than drinking wine.
People may need to drink a lot of red wine to get enough resveratrol to have an effect. However, this can do more harm than good.
That said, when choosing between alcoholic beverages, red wine may be a better choice than white wine or hard liquor.
The following sections take a closer look at the possible health benefits of red wine.
Learn more about the health benefits and risks of drinking red wine.
Many studies have shown a positive link between moderate red wine drinking and good heart health.
The AHA also explains that excess alcohol can directly harm the heart. To stay safe, people should follow official guidelines from the
- 1 glass of wine per day for females
- 2 glasses of wine for males
One glass of wine is 5 ounces (oz) of 12% alcohol by volume.
Learn more about cardiovascular health.
However, the research is limited, and doctors need more evidence before understanding the true effects of red wine on gut health.
Learn how to improve gut health.
The scientists believe that the ethanol in wine plays a crucial role in metabolizing glucose and that the nonalcoholic ingredients may also contribute. However, more research is necessary to confirm the findings.
Therefore, anyone with diabetes should check with their doctor before drinking alcohol.
Learn more about diabetes.
Many people find alcoholic drinks to be relaxing. However, studies published in
That being said, it is important to note that drinking too much alcohol can still cause high blood pressure, arrhythmia, or an irregular heart rhythm.
Learn more about high blood pressure.
However, both studies demonstrated the effects of resveratrol specifically rather than red wine.
Learn more about a stroke.
Research shows that resveratrol may also help prevent vision loss by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.
Many forms of age-related eye conditions that cause vision loss involve these factors, including:
Learn more about vision loss.
While there are research studies indicating that drinking red wine in moderation could reduce the risk of certain cancers, the
This is partly because it creates toxins in the body, damages body tissues, and creates oxidation. This means that the potential adverse effects of alcohol may outweigh any benefit from resveratrol.
The NCI links alcohol use with various cancers, including mouth, throat, liver, breast, and colon cancer.
For most people, enjoying red wine in moderation is safe, but it is important to keep in mind that drinking alcohol in excess is harmful.
Some studies link moderate red wine intake with reduced risk or better outcomes in cancer. The following sections look at studies into red wine and particular types of cancer.
Learn more about cancer.
Since wine contains these substances, it can follow that drinking wine may help a person reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.
However, this is by no means a definitive conclusion. Other
Further research into red wine consumption and breast cancer is necessary before scientists can make definitive claims.
Learn more about breast cancer.
However, these effects are from resveratrol rather than red wine itself.
Learn more about lung cancer.
The authors stated that these results mean moderate alcohol consumption might be safe for people with prostate cancer.
Learn more about prostate cancer.
According to a
The authors stated that this might be because of the neuroprotective effects of polyphenols and other compounds in wine that can reduce inflammation and alter the lipid profile in the body.
Learn more about dementia.
Resveratrol may be able to increase the level of serotonin in the brain, which might help reduce the symptoms of depression.
Other compounds contained in wine may help regulate how serotonin transmits within the brain, a mechanism that can malfunction in cases of mood disorders.
However, alcohol might also make depression worse in some cases. A
In addition, people who misuse alcohol or have alcohol use disorder have a
Learn more about depression.
According to a
That said, the impact of red wine on liver health is complicated. Although it provides antioxidants and reduces oxidative stress, drinking can also increase uric acid and triglycerides, which damages the liver.
Researchers need to complete more studies to determine the complex effects of moderate red wine intake on liver health.
People who currently have liver disease should avoid alcohol altogether.
Learn more about liver disease.
Drinking red wine in moderation may reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, as discussed above, so it may help people live longer.
Learn more about the calories in wine.
Resveratrol appears to underlie many of the health benefits of red wine.
Learn more about the types of wine.
Wine consumption may have some health benefits, but drinking too much alcohol can increase health risks.
The CDC provides guidance on the health risks of drinking too much alcohol. They report that excessive alcohol use led to around
Further, they state that 1 in 10 deaths among adults ages 20–64 had an association with excessive drinking.
Short-term health risks of excessive alcohol use include:
- violent behavior
- alcohol poisoning
- sexual behavior that may have dangerous consequences, including sex without using contraception
- miscarriage or fetal alcohol disorder among pregnant people
Long-term risks of excessive alcohol use include:
- heart problems
- fatty liver disease
- liver damage
- mental health conditions
- certain cancers
Learn more about the effects of alcohol on health.
For many people, enjoying a glass or two of red wine each day can be part of a healthy diet.
However, despite the possible health benefits, drinking excess alcohol can do more harm than good.
Despite any possible benefits, the official
Ultimately, many of the benefits linked to red wine are due to the beneficial properties of resveratrol. Eating grapes and berries may, therefore, be a more healthful option.
Drinking red wine in moderation may have certain health benefits, including boosting heart, gut, and brain health. This is because it contains compounds with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and lipid-improving effects.
However, drinking alcohol is not safe for everyone, and drinking more than a moderate amount can cause serious health problems. People should speak to their doctor about consuming alcohol safely or limiting their consumption.
A person may experience similar benefits from eating grapes and certain berries instead.