Your heart needs a glass of red wine

Research has suggested that specifically red wine is the most beneficial to your heart health. The cardioprotective effect has been attributed to antioxidants present in the skin and seeds of red grapes.

Scientists believe the antioxidants, called flavonoids, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in three ways:

  1. by reducing production of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (also know as the "bad" cholesterol) 
  2. by boosting high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the good cholesterol) 
  3. by reducing blood clotting. Furthermore, consuming a glass of wine along with a meal may favorably influence your lipid profiles following that meal 
Recently, researchers have found that moderate red wine consumption may be beneficial to more than just your heart. One study found that the antioxidant resveratrol, which is prevalent in the skin of red grapes, may inhibit tumor development in some cancers. Another study indicated that resveratrol aided in the formation of nerve cells, which experts believe may be helpful in the treatment of neurological diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Researchers at the University of California, at Davis tested a variety of wines to determine which types have the highest concentrations of flavonoids. Their results concluded that the flavonoid favorite is Cabernet Sauvignon, followed closely by Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir. Both Merlots and red zinfandels have fewer flavonoids than their more potent predecessors. White wine had significantly smaller amounts than the red wine varieties. The bottom line is the sweeter the wine, the fewer the flavonoids. Dryer red wines are your best bet for a flavonoid boost.

A four-ounce glass of wine is equivalent to one serving. Light-to-moderate alcohol use means having two to seven drinks per week. Heavier drinking can harm the heart and liver. In those who consume three or more drinks per day, there is an increased risk for elevated serum triglycerides (fat in the bloodstream). Long-term, excessive alcohol consumption can damage nerve cells, the liver and the pancreas. Heavy drinkers are also at risk for malnutrition, as alcohol may substitute for more nutritious foods.

There is no justification for nondrinkers to start consuming wine as a preventive measure, considering that several other well-proven therapies exist for cardiovascular risk reduction, such as exercise, smoking cessation, blood pressure control, and cholesterol lowering, that do not have wine’s undesirable effects. For those patients who are established moderate drinkers, abstention should not be enforced. Increasing alcohol consumption for the purposes of cardioprotection, however, is not justified. Hence, individuals should seek the advice of a physician to make a recommendation about alcohol consumption, with or without the clinical manifestations of atherosclerosis.


  1. Anonymous2/19/2013

    I prefer a glass of guinness. I bet it has a positive impact on my health and my research showes that blood pressure usually falls after the intake.

    1. Moderate beer consumption can have positive effects on homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid that can be harmful at high levels. Having increased homocysteine might raise your blood pressure and stiffen arteries, thus increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Beer can maintain homocysteine and keep it in a normal range. This benefit from beer might be related to its high folate content. Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that acts like a protective agent for your heart.

  2. Anonymous5/02/2013

    How can one fight reflux after some glasses of wine?

    1. If you have reflux, don't drink wine on an empty stomach. Take an "acid reducer" pill 20-60 minutes before you consume any wine.