Is Red Wine Actually Heart Healthy

Is Red Wine Actually Heart Healthy?

Home  »  Health   »   Is Red Wine Actually Heart Healthy?

For ages, Red wine intake has been linked with better cardiovascular health – thanks to several publications emphasizing the positive effects of drinking red wine on our health. If we go the scientific route, we’ll come to know the hidden benefits of this wonder drink and dispel the myths associated with the consumption of red wine.

A widely held belief that prompts people around the globe to opt for this drink is the protection it offers from heart diseases. This belief is based on an observation made by French people that links low heart disease rates among the French with their high red wine intake. This trait of red wine is attributed to the presence of polyphenols, a kind of antioxidant that accounts for its health-promoting abilities.

Is Red Wine Actually Good For Your Heart? 

Research does support the heart-protecting benefits of red wine. Moderate consumption of red wine helps improve cardiovascular health and prevents the development of coronary ailments. Researchers, however, are skeptical about the role of resveratrol as the only contributing factor in the prevention of heart diseases as alcohol, also offers the same benefits. Alcohol intake in moderate amounts helps in increasing HDL or good cholesterol which is the main contributing factor in the prevention of heart diseases. Hence, according to studies, any alcoholic drink can help your heart stay in a healthy state, but with red wine, you can expect a few more health benefits because of the presence of resveratrol. For a detailed perspective on the heart-protecting ability of resveratrol, more research may help.

Image Credit: Unsplash

Role of Resveratrol in Red Wine in Improving Cardiovascular Health

Resveratrol, the main compound attributed as a key ingredient for promoting cardiovascular health, is a polyphenol with antioxidant properties in red wine. This ingredient has been shown to lower low-density lipoprotein which helps in protecting your heart and also fixes problems like blood clotting. But, more research is needed to know in detail the effect of resveratrol in improving the health of blood vessels and the prevention of blood clots.

Health Benefits of Drinking Red Wine

Manages Blood Pressure

Red wine does have blood pressure-lowering qualities, despite its alcoholic nature which often results in a rise in blood pressure. The ability of red wine to manage hypertension comes from resveratrol, an active ingredient found in red wine. Resveratrol is originally present in the skin of grapes and can help in cholesterol reduction and protects the lining of blood vessels from damaging and prevents the formation of blood clots. 

Prevents Cancer

The presence of antioxidants especially, phytochemicals and polyphenols in red wine help in preventing cancer. Proanthocyanidins, an anti-oxidant along with resveratrol offer protection against oxidative damage to your arteries and blood vessels and thus prevents the possibility of growth of cancer cells. 

Controls Diabetes

Coupling your meals with a glass of red wine every once in a while has shown to improve metabolism which helps in maintaining blood sugar. Some studies suggest that flavonoids found in red wine help in reducing insulin resistance and regulate blood sugar which makes red wine beneficial for those who have been diagnosed with diabetes, specifically type 2 diabetes. 

Improves Memory Function

If forgetfulness has become a routine, try red wine! Studies have shown its significance in improved memory function which comes from compounds like resveratrol, polyphenols, and certain other antioxidants found in red wine. These ingredients work by preventing oxidative stress and inflammation that play a key role in damaging your brain function. They also prevent neurodegeneration which is a key factor that leads to sluggish memory. 

Prevents Inflammation

Red wine is anti-inflammatory in nature and can help in providing relief from joint pain. This quality of red wine is due to the presence of resveratrol, flavonoids, and other phytochemicals that work by preventing tissue damage and keep the nerves in a healthy state contributing to a thorough improvement in all your bodily functions. 

Delays Aging

Red wine intake also helps ward off aging and promotes healthy organ function. Being an anti-oxidant loaded drink, red wine fights the effect of free radicals on the body and prevents the damage they may cause. The result is an improved organ activity that helps your body stay in the best shape. 

Myths Associated With Red Wine

Red wine has long been hailed as an immunity booster that also acts as a shield against heart diseases. As a way to reap all the good red wine is believed to offer, a lot of people tend to pair red wine with their meals daily. Studies suggest that alcohol in red wine has a likelihood of interfering with the benefits red wine is purported to offer. This means if one wants to benefit from the positive effects of red wine, one needs to consume it regularly, but that also loads your system with alcohol and its resulting effects that can harm your body. In totality, red wine consumption does offer some benefits, if you exercise moderation, but if health is your main goal, it’s better to switch to non-alcoholic wine so your body does not have to deal with the damaging effect of alcohol. 

Here are some popular health myths related to red wine consumption:

Myth 1: Red Wine is the best source of anti-oxidants

Red wine is a rich source of antioxidants that guarantee protection against infections, heart diseases, and age-related degeneration of tissues. But the presence of alcohol can negate these benefits, as alcohol is known to disrupt the absorption of certain micronutrients. Hence, if you want to up your intake of antioxidants, consuming fresh grapes proves to be a better alternative than drinking red wine. 

Myth 2: Red Wine increases your risk of diabetes

A popular reason that deters people with diabetes from drinking red wine is its alcoholic nature, which might lead to a rise in blood sugar. This is completely untrue, as red wine intake once in a while is considered safe for diabetics and can in fact lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Studies have also shown that alcohol consumption in moderate amounts may cause blood sugar to rise, but excessive intake of alcohol causes blood sugar levels to drop. On the contrary, with red wine, you can expect your blood sugar levels to stay within the normal range if you exercise moderation in its intake. 

Related: Alpilean Ice Hack for Weight Loss

Myth 3: Red wine lowers blood pressure

Red wine intake can cause your blood pressure to rise in the beginning due to its alcoholic nature, but with regular consumption, you can benefit from its relaxing properties that help in reducing blood pressure. This effect is not long-lasting and those suffering from chronic hypertension are advised to refrain from relying on red wine to keep their blood pressure in check.  

Myth 4: Red Wine prevents heart attack

Taking a glass of red wine once or twice a week can work wonders in improving your heart health and also prevents the risk of a heart attack. This characteristic of red wine is due to the antioxidant resveratrol that is found in red wine. This micronutrient works by increasing good cholesterol in your blood and prevents heart-related problems. But it should not be considered as a remedy for preventing heart attack as alcohol in red wine might make things worse for people with heart-related problems. 

Potential Downsides Of Drinking Red Wine

Liver Problems

Excessive intake of red wine might lead to deterioration of the liver due to its alcoholic content. It can hamper its functioning ability as too much alcohol stresses the liver and impairs its ability to filter wastes. In the longer run, excessive consumption of alcohol in any form leads to developing chronic liver diseases such as cirrhosis and fatty liver. 

Drug Reactions

Red wine along with certain medicines tends to turn lethal especially if you start taking large doses of it or are struggling with alcohol addiction. Those with serious conditions like asthma or people on medication should avoid consuming red wine. In some people, red wine can also result in an allergic reaction upon its consumption. Those who notice symptoms like rashes, hives, wheezing or respiratory issues after taking red wine should discontinue its use and report the symptoms to a doctor, so measures can be taken to prevent any serious concerns. 

Fetal Abnormalities

Pregnant women are advised to avoid red wine during their pregnancy. Alcohol in red wine has the possibility of reaching the baby’s bloodstream which can lead to physical and mental abnormalities that can turn up years after the baby is born. This condition occurs due to fetal alcohol syndrome in which the mother is addicted to drinking large quantities of alcohol.