After a long day of work, my mother would always sit down with a glass of wine to wind down from the day. She said it relaxed and soothed her from any stress she carried home from work. She claims red wine, in moderation, actually has health benefits, contrary to the knowledge that alcohol is bad for your body. So what health benefits does wine really have, if any? Why do I only hear that red wine specifically has health benefits, but not white or rosé? Does a glass of red wine a day keep the doctor away?
Red wine contains something called resveratrol that is heart-healthy and protects against blood clots. Red wine also contains antioxidants that help in preventing heart disease. Red wine can help protect against build up in arteries by containing “good” cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Polyphenol, which is a type of antioxidant, can help protect the blood vessels in the heart.
A source at the Mayo Clinic argues, “Red wine seems to have even more heart-healthy benefits than do other types of alcohol, but it’s possible that red wine isn’t any better than beer, white wine or liquor for heart health. There’s still no clear evidence that red wine is better than other forms of alcohol when it comes to possible heart-healthy benefits.” Although, we do not know how truly reliable this source is due to the fact that there is no author, just “The Mayo Clinic Staff.” However, a study was conducted by the writers of this article, which help to prove the alternative hypothesis, which is that red wine in moderation has health benefits while the null hypothesis is that drinking red wine in moderation does not have health benefits, and has no effect.
The study was conducted mostly on animals, not humans. When resveratrol, which is found in red wine, was tested on mice, it showed that the mice were more protected against obesity and diabetes. When the study was performed on pigs, the pigs showed improvement in heart function. For a human to obtain the same amount of resveratrol that was injected into these animals, they would need to drink more than 1,000 liters of wine a day, which would cause more health problems than helping the heart problems. This is an experimental study performed on the animals, which gives more factual evidence than a correlational study. The study was well conducted because there were proper controls. The control groups were the mice and pigs who were not injected with resveratrol. I believe this study makes a correct conclusion that resveratrol, which one can obtain from drinking red wine, has health benefits. This is either a correct conclusion or a false positive. The problem is that a person would need large amounts of resveratrol for it to make a lasting difference in heart health, and drinking wine in large quantities is unhealthy.
Medical News Today claims that red wine in moderation can actually help you live a longer life, protect against certain cancers such as colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer, and improve mental health as well as heart health. Red wine can also act as an anti-depression. Scientists found that both men and women who drank seven glasses of red wine per week were less likely to be diagnosed with depression. Looks like these are all good cases for having a glass of wine!
Of course, too much of anything is bad, and doctors are wary of telling anyone to drink more alcohol, despite these health benefits. One glass of wine is considered 1.5 ounces or 44 mL. People under the age of 25 should really drink in moderation, considering the brain is not fully developed until around the age of 25, so consuming too much alcohol can me detrimental to proper brain development. People who drink red wine in moderation seem to have a lower risk of heart disease. If you go overboard on the alcohol, worse things than heart disease can happen, like liver disease and high blood pressure, and drinking red wine should not be one’s only way of attempting to prevent heart disease. Exercise and a healthy diet always come first.
But what about white wine? Why is white wine, or rosé for that matter, never mentioned? Well, resveratrol is found in the skin of grapes, which is used to make the wine. Red wine is fermented for a longer time than white wine is, hence the lesser amount of resveratrol, and also the lesser health benefits. Also, white wine tends to contain more sugar than red wine does, which is not as healthy, when focusing on the health benefits of wine.
So what can you do to get the health benefits of resveratrol without drinking the alcohol? Eating grapes has shown to provide the health benefits of resveratrol without having to drink the alcohol along with it, especially if you’re underage or not a fan or red wine. Heart disease is more prominent in older folks anyways, the people who are able to drink red wine on the daily.