Happy Wine Wednesday! In case you missed my newsletter last month, it featured red wine and dark chocolate! I try to save my newsletters just for my subscribers but so many people ask about wine, how could I not share it with all? Be sure to sign up below so you don't miss out this month!
As you know, red wine contains antioxidants- specifically, flavonoids and polyphenols. One type of polyphenol in particular, called resveratrol, seems to get the most attention.
Resveratrol is found in grape skins, peanuts, blueberries, and cranberries. It may help to:
decrease damage to blood vessels and
decrease LDL ('bad') cholesterol
Some studies show that resveratrol may be anti-inflammatory and may decrease blood clotting to help prevent heart disease. Other studies show different, so this remains inconclusive. Resveratrol is also available in supplement form, but our bodies cannot actually absorb this form.
It is also likely that red wine may not be any better for our hearts than white wine, beer, or liquor. Frequency and amount seem to play a larger role in our overall health. The pros at Harvard Health (who I truly admire) say that if you're going to drink alcohol, you're better off drinking 1 drink/night than 7 drinks on Saturday night. Moderate alcohol consumption (of any kind) can help to slightly raise your HDL ('good') cholesterol and lower LDL ('bad') cholesterol.
The medical community does believe that alcohol plays a positive role in heart health, although they remain unclear as to what exactly this role is. The results of over 100 studies have consistently shown that those who drink moderately have 25-40% reduced risk of death by cardiovascular event.
However, I would encourage you to take this somewhat lightly as it's all a balancing act. As mentioned above, moderation is key, meaning 1 drink/day for women and 1-2/day for men (1 drink = 12oz of beer, 5oz of wine, 1.5oz of 80 proof liquor, OR 1oz of 100 proof liquor). Alcohol is known to be a carcinogen and too much of it can increase your blood pressure, your risk of acquiring many types of cancers, stroke, and liver failure.
I'm all for a glass of wine or good microbrew here and there, but if you don't drink alcohol, most doctors don't recommend starting. There are plenty of other ways to increase your HDL (like exercise) and decrease LDL (fruits and veggies). I'm a firm believer that what we eat should be enjoyable and we shouldn't label foods as 'good' or 'bad' or completely eliminate foods we truly enjoy. If you like red wine, yes, it likely has heart healthy benefits, just enjoy in moderation as overdoing it can have strong impacts as well.
Cheers to good health!