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Is Red Wine Good For Your Heart? | Facts About Wine

The idea that a moderate amount of wine is beneficial to the health of our hearts is not a recent one. The 1980’s gave advent to the ‘French Paradox’ where coronary heart disease seemed to be disproportionately low in France. Considering the amount of fatty foods the nation enjoyed, science pointed to the amount of wine they consumed. Visions of foie gras and Joel Robuchon’s mashed potatoes come to mind. Red wine was believed to be the potential saviour for our hearts, but sadly this conclusion is somewhat misleading

There are certainly some health benefits associated with wine. It is also correct to say that certain types of wine, namely red and organic wine, are more beneficial. However, qualifications need to be made. It is not as simple as drinking red wine to lower cholesterol or promote a healthy heart. 

Recommended Number of Glasses of Red Wine Per Week

We should be mindful of the quantities of wine that we consume. A 2019 survey suggests that around 21% of Britons are consuming wine more than once a week. This can be well within acceptable levels, depending on how much we drink on those occasions. The main message from health professionals is that drinking wine in moderation is key.

The official government guidelines advise us to not exceed 14 units of alcohol a week. Most importantly though is that the units need to spread out over more than one drinking ‘session’. Therefore, it is essential you are aware of the number of units present in each glass of wine.

Units of Alcohol Red Wine
Units of Alcohol Per Glass Of Red Wine

The above guidelines have been sourced from the Department of Health. They suggest that a glass of wine with dinner during the week, or sharing a bottle of wine with a friend or loved one at the weekend, does not appear to be a cause for concern. If we enjoy wine in moderation, then we can reduce the risk of potential long-term health complications associated with it.

How To Tell if You are Drinking Too Much Red Wine

Many of us will have looked in the mirror to see some deep-red wine stains on our lips and teeth. While this is an indicator that you have been enjoying some red wine, it is in and of itself, perfectly innocent. 

There are a number of ways to tell if you are drinking too much red wine. Often these require some introspection, or listening to those around you. If you find yourself drinking first thing in the morning, or missing appointments and work due to the previous nights activities, then we recommend you review your habits. Equally if you find your friends and family expressing concern of your wine drinking habits, again some changes may be required.

Red wine is not per se good for your heart, but has been a much loved part of many peoples lives for thousands of years. Red wine is there to for us to enjoy however we should always be mindful of ourselves and our habits surrounding it.

If you have any concerns surrounding your wine drinking habits then please use this self-assessment tool. It will help you evaluate them and make a call if you need to make some changes or seek professional help.

Health Implications of Drinking Too Much Red Wine

Alcohol should not be regularly consumed in great quantities. The same applies to red wine too. The list of issues which can be linked to excess consumption of alcohol in the short and long term is extensive and well-documented. Anyone drinking alcohol should be aware of them. If you hear family or friends using the excuse that red wine is good for your heart to justify there excess drinking then you should refer to them this article.

Red wine has other features which oenophile’s should be considerate of. One is that it is particularly calorific. Most wine drinkers would be shocked to hear that red wine contains roughly twice the amount of calories compared to can of coca-cola, or beer. Therefore, excessive consumption of red wine could drastically increase weight gain. Too much of a good thing is just that. Red wine, like alcohol in general, has numerous pitfalls if consumed excessively.

How Many Calories Are There In A Glass Of Red Wine
Is Red Wine Good For Your Heart?

Here is where red wine drinkers can clink glasses with satisfaction because there is some truth to the statement, ‘red wine can promote a healthy heart’. We must qualify this with saying that we should never drink red wine, (or any alcohol), as a solution for health issues. However, there are elements specific to red wine which could help supplement a healthy lifestyle and boost cardio-vascular health, when enjoyed in moderation.

This can be attributed to the naturally occurring compounds called ‘Polyphenols’, which are present in a number of different food sources. The health-benefits of polyphenols are well known and include; helping to prevent blood clots, reducing blood sugar levels, and even lowering the chance of heart disease. They promote a healthy heart through acting as an antioxidant. This helps to reduce inflammation, which is a risk factor involved in heart disease.
It is also posited that polyphenol content is closely linked to colour. Staining foods such as beetroot, red berries and red onion are all rich in polyphenols. Analogously, red wine has around ten times the polyphenol content of white wine. So, the next time you stain your clean white shirt with some red wine, it can be a reminder of the benefits hiding in your favourite drink.

We can therefore take some solace in the assertions of the health benefits of red wine. Due to the naturally occurring polyphenols present in red wine, there are potential health benefits. This is when red wine is enjoyed as part of a balanced diet, active lifestyle and in line with the surgeon generals recommendations.

Food for Thought

It is nice to know that there is some truth to the statement, ‘Red wine is good for your heart’. It seems we can also be even broader and have hopes that red wine could be shown to be benefiting our brain function, digestion, as well as other factors. This does not mean we have a carte blanche with our favourite tipple.

Regardless of any potential benefits related to the consumption of red wine, we should not exceed the government guidelines and should enjoy wine responsibly. If you are worried about your own alcohol intake, or that of a loved one, please do seek help.


Other useful links: NHS Alcohol Support and Access Alcohol Support Services In Your Area.

By Kyle

13th May 2021

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