Wine And Your Health: Is It Really Good For You?
It seems like every other day there’s a new article making the rounds on social media, claiming that one of your guiltiest pleasures (cheese, chocolate, tequila and even CAKE) is actually good for you. You’ve probably heard similar rumors about wine…and who wouldn’t want to believe it? But, as it turns out, there’s actual science behind these claims. Here’s a quick breakdown of the data on your favorite drink.
Yes, moderate wine consumption CAN be good for you.
Let’s start with a definition of “moderate,” so we’re all on the same page. Most published studies agree that “moderate” is about one glass—that’s five ounces for women, and slightly more for men. The good news: stay within these limits, and the research is pretty conclusive with regard to improving your heart health.
Kenneth Mukamal, M.D., M.P.H., a Harvard Medical School professor who’s one of the leading researchers on the topic, says, “The association between moderate alcohol intake and lower risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) has been studied in well-designed observational studies for nearly 50 years.”
One study found that women who drank moderately were 23% less likely to have heart disease; moderate-drinking men were up to 35% less likely to have a heart attack than men who abstained completely. Moderate alcohol consumption has also been associated with a 30%–40% reduction in the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, regardless of BMI (body mass index). These are pretty compelling numbers, overall.
Of course, alcohol isn’t without other risks—including addiction, obviously, as well as some cancers. A 2015 study published in the British Medical Journal found that drinkers had a 2–5% higher risk of cancer in general, and that women who drank moderately had a 13% higher risk of breast cancer. These facts are obviously something to weigh against any heart-health benefits.
But wait—the doc said “alcohol,” not “wine.” Does it matter?
Actually, it might not! Dr. Mukamal continues, “In all of population studies on the effects of moderate drinking, we’ve seen no clear difference between types of alcohol.” Evidently, that tequila we mentioned earlier is can also be good for you—in moderation, of course.
In recent years, red wine has been getting a lot of attention for its high levels of resveratrol, an antioxidant initially believed to prevent multiple health problems. But Mukamal is skeptical about this data. A 2014 study suggested that the benefits of high levels of resveratrol that were studied in rodents may not translate to humans; in addition, the resveratrol in these studies was present in much higher levels than one might get from a daily five-ounce glass.
The bottom line: if you don’t drink regularly, there’s no real reason to start. But if you do enjoy the occasional glass of wine—up to one glass a day, every day—there’s a chance you’re contributing to a healthier heart. That’s something you can feel good about. And, if you happen to be enjoying a drink with one of our dining partners, you can feel good about earning Poynts, too. From your friends at Carepoynt, cheers!