Let’s separate fact from fiction: Is wine good for you? Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks you may want to consider.
We’ve all heard it before: Wine is full of antioxidants, so it must be good for you! Drink up! However, despite its antioxidant content, wine isn’t generally considered a clear-cut health food. So the real question is: Is wine healthy? There are definitely some perks and drawbacks to consider. We’re here to break down the pros and cons of this ubiquitous beverage.
Wine: The Benefits
Let’s start with the positive, shall we? Wine has been shown to offer a number of concrete benefits, among them antioxidant content and heart-protective benefits.
Let’s start with antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that can offer electrons to free radicals in the body, helping to prevent against numerous health conditions. When left unchecked, free radicals can destabilize many of the body’s biological processes. Antioxidants therefore promote health, anti-aging and longevity, and wine is rich in them — a glass of red wine has an ORAC score (a measurement used to describe antioxidant concentrations) of 4,523 μ mol TE/100g. Compare that to the scores of goji berries (4,310) or blackberries (5,905).
The types of antioxidants found in wine, and particularly in red wine, are also notable. Wine contains polyphenols such as resveratrol and quercetin. Both of these polyphenols are thought to be extremely health-promoting. Resveratrol is credited with many of the heart- and longevity-boosting effects of the Mediterranean diet, and quercetin is thought to help promote healthy cellular reproduction, protecting against many conditions.
Finally, alcohol itself may be heart-protective in nature. Studies have found that moderate alcohol consumption (defined as about one drink per day) can promote heart health.
While wine has some great health benefits, it doesn’t come without its drawbacks. If you don’t currently drink wine regularly, there’s no need to start now. Take, for example, the antioxidant content of red wine (4,523 ORAC score). It’s significantly less than the antioxidant content of dark chocolate (20,816), pecans (17,940), or cranberries (9,090).
Furthermore, wine’s modest antioxidant levels may not be significant enough to warrant its consumption — especially not at immoderate levels. Drinking alcohol regularly has been linked to a number of chronic health conditions, especially for women.
Furthermore, alcohol is a diuretic, which means that drinking alcohol every day can lead to chronic dehydration. With chronic dehydration comes poor skin health, energy levels and vitality.
So when it comes to wine, there’s probably no harm in throwing back a glass or two once in a while. But it definitely isn’t a superfood, and should be viewed for what it is: A delicious and pleasurable treat.