There is not any conclusive evidence that wine is better for your heart than other types of alcohol. However, red wine does contain antioxidants called polyphenols which, “may protect the lining of blood vessels in the heart”. Resveratrol is a particular antioxidant that may prevent damage to blood vessels, reduce clots, and prevent “bad” cholesterol. If any one of these benefits prove to be true, than red wine would at least be better for your heart than other types of alcohol.
I remember hearing about the heart benefits of red wine a few years back and was really interested by it. I always wondered what made red wine different from other types of wine and why it was better. From my own research, I found that red wine gets its color from the antioxidants in the grape skins. Resveratrol is one of the more potent antioxidants and comes directly from the grape skins. Red wine is brewed longer with the grape skins, hence why it has a darker color than white wine. The link at the bottom explains more about this process.
Recent reports have shown that a glass or two of wine has positive effects on the heart such that it reduces the risk of heart disease. This type of research has been compared to the diet of the French, who also consume a significant amount of wine. In fact, further research has shown that the French, who drink more wine per capita than Americans do (don’t worry, Americans make up for it in their beer and vodka intake), have 1/3 less heart disease than Americans! How does that work?!
Well, for one, researchers are beginning to question whether the wine is the only thing that is playing a role in the fight against heart disease. Further studies have shown that wine drinkers are also more likely to live healthier lifestyles in general, make healthier food choices on a regular basis (including lots of fruits and veggies and avoiding foods with high saturated fat). This being true, experts are reconsidering whether the wine played that big of a role and that it may actually be the whole enchilada (not literally, talk about saturated fat!) that contributed to those individuals lowering their risk of heart disease in the original wine studies.
Additionally, researchers have wondered whether the mere act of drinking wine (in moderation) makes people more relaxed, thereby easing stress and reducing their risk for heart disease.
Finally, some research has shown that wine drinkers tend to have higher incomes than non wine drinkers. Having a high income has been linked with better diet choices and reduced mortality rates in previous studies so are wine drinkers really just wealthy, which is in effect protecting them from heart disease (according to the research)?
As it stands now, it doesn’t appear as if researchers have conclusive evidence about whether or not it is actually the wine that has the benefits or outside circumstances. Either way, everything in moderation (as in 1-2 cups, not the whole bottle!) is fine, especially if you enjoy it, it makes you relaxed and who knows, maybe it’ll even make you rich?!
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