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AreThereHealthBenefitstoDrinkingRedWine?

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Are There Health Benefits to Drinking Red Wine?

Potential Health Benefits of Red Wine

There is some evidence that drinking red wine may offer health benefits. If you are a non-drinker, health experts do not recommend that you start drinking alcohol. But if you enjoyalcohol in moderation, red wine is worth considering.

If youve ever wondered why red wine may be healthier than white, the answer is in the grape skins. Before most white wine is fermented, the skins are separated from the mashed fruit and juice. With red wine, the skins remain throughout the fermentation process. Since many of theantioxidantsin grapes are in the skin, red wine contains more antioxidants than white wine.

Antioxidants are important for maintaining good health because they protect your cells from damage. The antioxidants found in wine are polyphenols, which are compounds found in plants. You may also hear some of them calledflavonoids. One flavonoid of interest to scientists isresveratrol, but red wine contains others.

One serving of red wine is about five ounces. The nutritional value may vary slightly according to the variety. On average, one serving of red wine contains:

Red wine also contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals, including:

Some benefits of drinking red wine can be traced to the alcohol itself, so any alcoholic drink used in moderation could have the same effect. Other research centers on the particular qualities of red wine, many of which have not been fully explored.

Scientists have found these possible health benefits of red wine consumption:

The polyphenols in red wine could lowerblood pressure. In one study of people with slightly elevated blood pressure, red wine extract lowered readings. Bothsystolic and diastolic pressureimproved. The study concluded that the polyphenols in red wine were responsible. The authors stated that red wine consumption is not a magic bullet, but could be one contributor to good heart health.

Although some researchers disagree, evidence showing that red wine is good for heart health continues to grow. Some benefits come from the ethanol present in all wine. Ethanol may combine with the polyphenols in red wine to create several positive effects for the heart and circulatory system. Those with heart disease resulting from narrowed blood vessels may benefit most.

Resveratrol, one polyphenol in red wine, may reduce the risk of cancer, but this effect has appeared mostly in the lab and not in human studies. Some researchers say that red wine does not contain enough resveratrol to be effective. Still, those who drink red wine have shown alower risk of colon cancerandprostate cancer. Its possible that the lowered risk is due to other compounds in red wine.

One study showed that light to moderate drinking could reduce the risk of dementia, but no type of alcohol was superior to others in producing this effect. Some research has indicated small doses of alcohol may have a beneficial effect on the heart and circulatory system.

Some studies show that moderate alcohol intake could reduce the risk oftype 2 diabetesin women. In one study, wine reduced the risk of diabetes for both men and women. Men who drank heavily, and even those who drink 1-3 days a week, had an increased risk of diabetes.

While studies have shown some health benefits of drinking red wine, individuals should weigh the benefits against the risks and keep in mind the dangers ofalcohol abuse.

Drinking red wine presents some potential health risks:

About 10% of the population is at risk of an allergic reaction to wine. Many components of wine can trigger a reaction, including yeast, molds, andsulfites. Even the flavonoids that make red wine healthy can be troublesome. Red wine is the form of alcohol most likely to cause a reaction inpeople with asthma.

Many people have a problem with overconsuming alcohol. The U.S. government includes alcohol guidelines in its Healthy People Initiatives, but many individuals do not follow them. Many consumers, especially heavy drinkers, underreport their alcohol consumption, so the problem is likely worse than reports indicate.

Those who arepregnant should not drink alcohol. This precaution extends to those planning to get pregnant and to those who are breastfeeding. All alcohol should be avoided, including red wine.

People who suffer from gout should not drink at all.  Consumption of alcohol, including wine, can worsengoutsymptoms.

Drinking too much alcohol of any kind can damage the liver, leading to conditions such ascirrhosis. Alcohol can even worsen conditions caused by a virus, likehepatitis C.

Allergologie Select:Allergic and intolerance reactions to wine.

The American Journal of Medicine:Alcohol Quantity and Type on Risk of Recurrent Gout Attacks: An Internet-based Case-crossover Study.

Circulation:Wine and cardiovascular health.

Diabetic Medicine:Alcoholic intake, consumption pattern and beverage type, and the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: Wine, red.

The Journal of Nutrition:If You Drink Alcoholic Beverages, Do So in Moderation: What Does This Mean?

Keck Medicine of USC: Can a daily glass of wine help prevent cancer?

Lancet:Alcohol consumption and risk of dementia: the Rotterdam Study.

Mayo Clinic: Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?

Nutrients:Consumption of a Polyphenol-Rich Grape-Wine Extract Lowers Ambulatory Blood Pressure in Mildly Hypertensive Subjects.

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