To drink or not to drink…a glass of red wine a night?

We have been making wine out of fermented grapes for centuries now, and in one survey done in 2014, Americans alone consumed about 893 million gallons of wine. Over the past few years, there have been numerous studies done that have shed light on drinking wine and the health benefits (with moderation), specifically when it comes to drinking one glass of red wine a night (one glass is approximately 5 ounces of wine).

To start, red wine is full of antioxidants. These antioxidants that are specifically in red wine, can work together to protect cells as well as defend one’s body against toxics and prevent cancer and other diseases. In a study done by the American Heart Association, the relationship between one’s heart and their red wine consumption was measured. While any type of alcohol (1 to 2 servings a day) has been seen to benefit us, red wine in particular has been thought to have additional benefits.

Atherosclerosis is a disease that is due to a build up of plaque inside one’s arteries, which results in severe problems because blood cannot reach your organs. The disease can result in a stroke or heart attack, or in the worst case, death. Red wine was believed to protect someone from this disease. In order to test this, the Copenhagen City Heart Study was put into place. A total of 13,825 men and women were watched for 12 years in order to monitor their alcohol consumption and then as a result, see what effects their consumption had on their health.

In this case: 

X-variable: Alcohol consumption (amount in ounces)

Y-variable: How healthy they are

Third confounding variables: What type of alcohol it is

The people in the study who drank wine, rather than liquor or beer, as a result were in a much better position when it came to their heart health. They had half of the risk of dying from something like heart disease compared to those who didn’t drink wine.

To take this study further to look at red wine in particular, 13 studies (a total of 209,418 people) were compared. With the consumption of red wine, came a 32% risk reduction to getting the atherosclerotic disease. What wine is made up of seems to be the main reason for why it is so beneficial. It has also been know to increase “good” cholesterol in one’s body which can clear out material what has the potential to clog arteries.

Like everything, there is always a down side to a glass day. While it helps protect one’s cells from the majority of cancers, it has been said to increase the risk of breast cancer. So then the next question becomes: should I start to drink a glass of day if I’m not already? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that you don’t. They argue that you shouldn’t go changing your routine just because of possible health benefits. On the contrary, in a study done by Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, results showed that people who drink regularly live longer than people who steer clear of alcohol. The majority of studies I read while researching this topic agreed with this study – in favor of 1-2 glasses a night.

5 thoughts on “To drink or not to drink…a glass of red wine a night?

  1. Anna Josephine Wisniewski

    I really liked your post, Catherine. Also love the fact that your last name is “Drinker”…how appropriate! Anyways, I appreciate how simple yet informative your post was. I could tell that you fully understood the information you were relaying, instead of just putting down random facts you found that sound good. It was well organized with your variables laid out, easy to follow. I would like to know if age has an affect on how the wine would positively influence health. It was also very nice how you saved the last paragraph to mention that wine isn’t totally beneficial, and does have some downfalls. I think that is really important to know. Great Job!!!

  2. Francis Patrick Cotter

    The health benefits of Alcoholic beverages is not limited to wine. Moderate alcohol consumption, in general, has proven to decrease the risk for heart disease. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, men who drink two beers a day have a decreased risk for diabetes and strokes (
    However, I believe that the results of these studies are due to a third variable. Alcohol is expensive. In order to drink two beers a day, you have to have some serious left over money and time. Therefore, the people who would be drinking these moderate amounts are wealthy people. Wealthy people typically have better health than poor people due to better diets and better access to health care. Although the study has a plausible mechanism, It would be a stretch to say that these people are solely benefitting from moderate alcohol consumption.

  3. Rebecca Jordan Polaha

    I thought that this post was really intriguing because I always heard this rumor around but never knew the facts. It’s crazy how red wine can contribute to a 32% reduction in atherosclerotic disease. While red wine may have its benefits, I do not agree with some of the facts stated. A glass a night might cause someone to become dependent on it to sleep, or some other reason. They may use the statistics as an excuse to drink every day. Still, this is amazing information that I did not know before!

  4. Sean Kyle Reilly

    Hey Catherine!

    Although I do not personally drink alcohol, I have commonly heard about the “drinking a glass of wine” a day argument and always wondered if it held any truth. Thanks to your article, I can now see why people prefer to drink their glass of wine a day!

    One thing I would like to point out is that pomegranates are commonly found to have a whole slew of antioxidants, among other health benefits, that could benefit the body, even more so than “red wine and green tea” according to scientists from the Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Center ( So, instead of the old “glass of red wine a night,” maybe those accustomed to it would benefit more so from “palming a pomegranate” in the evening after a long day!

  5. Delaney Ann Flynn

    My grandmother is known to drink a glass of red wine every night with dinner. Doctors have told her of the health benefits and have even seen her heart health improve with doing so. I agree with your comment that just because something has health benefits does not necessarily mean a person should be intentionally altering his routine. Many factors can play into just how well the body reacts to a consistent alcohol intake. For example, if a person’s family has a history of alcoholism- perhaps a glass of wine every night is not ideal. This post is interesting because sometimes people negatively connote alcohol consumption; whereas in this example, it is actually very beneficial.

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