Is Red Wine Actually Healthy?

| Women's Health

Red WineYou've likely heard the health claims touting the benefits of drinking red wine. Before you pour yourself a glass of wine with dinner tonight, consider the conflicting claims and research regarding the health benefits of red wine and decide for yourself.

The media celebrates the health benefits of red wine, when consumed in moderation. The standard pour for a glass of wine is about 5 ounces. Light to moderate consumption for a woman is equal to about one glass of wine per day and two glasses per day for men. Moderate, healthy levels of consumption vary by individual based on age, gender, genetics, weight, and body type, as well as the situation, such as if food is being consumed.

The most common claims declare moderate consumption of red wine lowers the risk of heart disease, lowers the risk of cancer, and lowers the mortality rate, among other benefits. Many reference the "French paradox," stating that the French have lower levels of heart disease, even though they commonly have a diet higher in saturated fat, because they regularly consume red wine. The antioxidant resveratrol is the ingredient property in red wine that receives the credit for many of these health benefits. Antioxidants are thought to block cancer-causing free radicals from damaging cells in the body. While some antioxidants are made naturally within the body, some can be consumed in food and drink.

>> Read more: The diet that allows 2 glasses of wine per day.

However, many argue that resveratrol does not have any influence on health issues such as longevity or cancer in small doses, such as the amount found in a glass of red wine. Other foods such as berries, grapes and dark chocolate also contain the antioxidant resveratrol and none have been linked with better health either, according to some studies. The Go Red for Women website also discusses that the alcohol in red wine may lessen the ability of these antioxidants and good chemical properties to effect the body.

As long as researchers are still doing studiesĀ on the effects of resveratrol and other compounds found in red wine, it is unclear whether or not red wine is actually good for you. What is clear is that if you do choose to enjoy alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.