There really are health benefits to drinking wine if you drink it in moderation.
But let’s be honest, the definition of moderation probably is way less than most of us drink. So sadly, a bottle-a-night or an afternoon of tailgating, is not moderately drinking.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for 2015, moderate consumption is:
One drink per day for women
Two drinks per day for men
One glass is the equivalent of
- 12 oz. beer
- 5 oz. wine
- 1.5 oz. 80-proof distilled liquor
You drink more than that, you can forget any benefits and presume your risks for just about everything are higher, according the Department of Health and Human Services.
But if you stay within the guidelines, you actually may be doing your body some good.
Much of the health perks of wine are thanks to resveratrol (rez VEER a troll) – a compound found in some plants, used to fight off bacteria.
The skins of red grapes have tons of resveratrol. But so do blueberries, cranberries and nuts. So know you can just add those to your diet and get the same benefits. (Though drinking red wine is just more fun.)
Studies have shown that resveratrol prevents damage to blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (a.k.a. the bad kind) and prevents blood clots.
In addition, the resveratrol and antioxidants found in wine also can:
- Lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke, says wine and food industry professional Melanie Young.
- Improve the cardiovascular health of people with Type 2 diabetes.
- And may even reduce bone loss in women and help stave off osteoporosis.
Full disclosure though: most of the research on resveratrol has been done on animals, not people, notes the Mayo Clinic.
Another Reason to Drink Champagne
Another big perk to resveratrol is that it may protect against cell damage and prevent loss of memory as we age.
But thankfully its not just red wine that may help us remember things.
Champagne often is made with dark skinned grapes, like Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. And a study out of Reading University in the UK, (again on rats) showed that Champagne had the same effect in preventing memory loss.
As a result, some researchers recommend that people over 40 start drinking two to three glasses of champagne a week to prevent brain disorders, including dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
(But you should stay away from fake pumpkin beer (yes, it's a thing). The Pint tells you how.)
A Note On Cancer
Other antioxidants in red wine may kill cells in certain types of cancers, most often colon cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
On the flipside, research consistently shows that drinking any form of alcohol can increase your risk of breast cancer, says Young , a seven-year breast cancer survivor and author of Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide To Staying Fearless & Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer.
So be cautious.
Oh and if you’re a smoker, don’t even think for a second that drinking wine will offset your bad habit.
Look, we get that sometimes drinking in moderation is tough, especially if you’re at a party or the waiter keeps refilling your glass.
So Young offers a few tips to keep control:
1. Sip -- don’t gulp your wine! Women especially!
2. Try to always drink wine with food. “Wine is not a medication, it’s a condiment” to your food, she says.
3. Drink one glass of water for every glass of wine you have to stay hydrated.
4. And because wine does dehydrate the body, try not to drink it too late. “Wine before 9.”
So enjoy your glass of wine and know that not only does it taste great — it actually may be helping you feel great too.
Tracy Byrnes, former FOX Business Network anchor and host of “Wine with Me” for Foxnews.com, is editor-in-chief and chief contributor of The Sip.