Does a glass of wine a day keep the doctor away?
There’s a popular belief that alcohol — especially red wine — is good for the heart. Some people say that red wine can keep the heart healthy, others argue that all types of alcohol are harmful to the heart.
So, is red wine actually good for the heart or is it all a hoax? The truth isn’t so clear-cut, says Johns Hopkins cardiologist John William (Bill) McEvoy, M.B.B.Ch., M.H.S.
Read on to know whether red wine is heart-friendly or not and what is the safe limit for consumption.
Is red wine healthy?
Some studies have shown an association between moderate alcohol intake and a lower risk of dying from heart disease.
But it’s hard to determine cause and effect from those studies, says McEvoy. Perhaps people who sip red wine have higher incomes, which tend to be associated with more education and greater access to healthier foods. Similarly, red wine drinkers might be more likely to eat a heart-healthy diet.
Red wine contains a polyphenol called resveratrol which is the main reason why red wine is getting a lot of attention for its health benefits. Resveratrol basically comes from the skin of grapes, which is the main ingredient that makes the wine. Resveratrol is said to prevent the damage done to the blood vessels and also reduces the level of bad cholesterol in the body.
While some studies regarded resveratrol as beneficial as it lowers the risk of inflammation and blood clotting, some other studies found no link between resveratrol and the prevention of heart disease.
How it can help the heart
There is some evidence that moderate amounts of alcohol might help to slightly raise levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. Researchers have also suggested that red wine, in particular, might protect the heart, thanks to the antioxidants it contains.
But you don’t have to pop a cork to reap those benefits. Exercise can also boost HDL cholesterol levels, and antioxidants can be found in other foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and grape juice
There are several other studies that link heart benefits with wine, but none fully claim that red wine can surely improve heart health.
Since resveratrol comes from the skin of grapes, many people also claim that you can just eat grapes or drink juice to claim those benefits, instead of drinking wine.
Moderation is the key
It is a known fact that excess of everything is bad.
Whether or not moderate drinking is good for your heart is open to debate. However, for most people, it doesn’t appear to be harmful to the heart, McEvoy says — but the key word is “moderate.”
If you drink wine every day, that too in large amounts, it won’t provide any kind of benefit to your heart, instead, it will expose you to the risk of heart, high blood pressure, and liver issues. The key lies in moderation. You must know your limit and consume small amounts of red wine to gain maximum benefits out of it. If you already have heart issues, then you must refrain from alcohol or consult your doctor about the amount of alcohol you can safely consume.