Is moderate wine consumption as good for your body as they say it is?
If wine is your alcoholic drink of choice because you think it’s ‘good’ for you, you’re not alone. However, you may be disappointed to learn that there is little scientific evidence to prove this widely held belief. While there are health benefits associated with drinking wine in moderation, particularly red wine, these have not been conclusively established by scientific studies and are mostly observational in nature. Experts agree more research is required in this area.
The belief that wine is good for you dates back to the late 1980s when scientists Serge Renaud and Michel de Lorgeril observed a relatively low risk of death in individuals with ischaemic heart disease (characterised by reduced blood flow to the heart) who drank red wine and consumed a high-saturated fat diet – a phenomenon referred to as the French Paradox.
Over the years, other studies have suggested that drinking wine in moderation lowered your risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
Wine, which is made from ripe grapes through the process of fermentation, contains polyphenols which are chemical compounds with antioxidant properties. A key polyphenol with heart protective and anti-ageing properties is resveratrol, found in grape skin.
Red wine has more resveratrol than white wine because it is fermented with the grape skin while white wine is fermented without it.
7 health benefits associated with wine
The following are some of the health benefits associated with moderate consumption of wine, though it’s important to note that these have not been conclusively proven by scientific research:
Lowers your risk of inflammation and blood clotting which are associated with heart disease
Prevents damage to blood vessels and lowers high blood pressure
Increases ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and decreases ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol
Lowers your risk of certain cancers, e.g. colon, prostate
Improves lung function
Lowers your risk of age-related degenerative disease
Stimulates the immune system and lowers your risk of general infection
If you drink wine, do so in moderation.
According to Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB), women should limit alcohol consumption, including wine, to one standard drink a day and men to two standard drinks a day. A standard drink contains 10 grams of alcohol and is equivalent to 100 ml of wine.
Excessive consumption of wine, as with other alcoholic drinks, can increase your risk of:
Cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus
Cirrhosis of the liver
Brain damage, memory loss
Accidents and injuries
How much alcohol is too much?
There is no safe level of alcohol consumption, global study finds