The Pros and Cons of Drinking Red Wine

By Julie Alvira, MD, MBA

There is a difference between men and women on the subject of moderate drinking. Dietary Guidelines for Americans explains that moderate alcohol consumption for healthy adults is defined as one drink per day for women and two drinks for men. It is recommended to maintain a healthy lifestyle and not drink. The ideal situation is not to drink alcohol because, among other things, it provides empty calories (there are almost no nutrients in alcohol), it is metabolized as sugar, and sugar converts into fat. Even though wine provides empty calories, according to a dietitian at Cleveland Clinic, it is a lighter choice than beer. To drink alcohol without maintaining moderate amounts can have harmful effects.

Antioxidant effect

Wine contains antioxidants like polyphenols; one in particular is called resveratrol. Resveratrol is found in grapes. The two types of wines––red and white––contain resveratrol. What happens is that red wine is fermented with the skins of the grapes for a longer period of time than white wine; therefore, it contains a little more resveratrol. Although there is no specific evidence yet, just lots of research studies that keep changing all the time, it is said that red wine in moderation can be beneficial for the heart, as it can slightly increase HDL (good) cholesterol, protect against arterial damage, and reduce blood clots. It should be noted that after a person drinks, the effects of resveratrol in wine are short term, not long term. James O’Keefe, MD, chief of preventive cardiology at Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, notes that the protective pattern to follow is to drink red wine just before or with an evening meal. To drink in moderation is one serving per day, which is roughly one glass of wine.

Other foods such as unsalted peanuts, blueberries, and cranberries also contain resveratrol. There are also resveratrol supplements sold in establishments with or without other types of antioxidants.
Neither the American Heart Association, nor the American Lung Association, recommends you start drinking alcohol just to prevent heart disease. Alcohol presents to the body too many harmful effects such as liver damage, risk of high blood pressure, obesity, cardiomyopathy, increased triglycerides, and it is associated with certain types cancer, etc. So if you drink, please do so in moderation (Mayo Clinic, 2014).

Julie Alvira, M.D., MBA Healthcare Management creator of AJBodysculpt. www.ajbodysculpt. com. A health, wellness, and fitness platform that provides you with the necessary tools to get into a healthier lifestyle. Health & Wellness Keynote Speaker/ Corporate Wellness Consulting/ Coaching/ Writer. You can see her fitness videos in Youtube: AJBodysculpt. Contact: