Is Drinking Wine Healthy?

Whether wine helps or hurts your health may depend on how much you drink.

Have you heard about the health benefits associated with drinking wine? According to some studies, moderate consumption of wine has been linked to cardiovascular health. Red wine in particular contains flavonoids and antioxidants which may boost HDL (“good”) cholesterol and help reduce coronary artery disease.

That’s good news for people who are looking for a reason to drink wine regularly. But before you fill your glass, it’s important to consider the risk-reward tradeoff of drinking.

Whether wine is good or bad for your health depends to some extent on how much you drink. The American Heart Association recommends women have no more than one serving a day and men no more than one to two servings. The 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines offer the same recommendations.  

What is a serving of wine?

One serving of wine is 5 ounces. That’s not a lot of wine. Many people pour more than that into a single glass so don’t go by how many glasses of wine you drink. Instead, keep an eye on ounces per serving. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 60% of women in the U.S. have more than one serving of alcohol a day.

What if you have more than one serving a day?

Drinking more wine than recommended may negatively affect your health. Female drinkers are at greater risk for developing alcohol-related health problems than men. Alcohol may also affect people with chronic health issues differently.

Health risks include an increased risk of high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, stroke, liver disease and breast cancer. And at 120 calories per 5-ounce serving, drinking wine may make it harder to lose or maintain weight. Pregnant women who drink put their unborn child at risk for learning problems and other health issues.

What should you keep in mind if you drink wine regularly?

  • Keep an eye on your portion sizes and remember that one serving is 5 oz.
  • If you are going to drink wine, do it with a meal.
  • Avoid binge drinking or excessive consumption.
  • Don’t drink at all if you are pregnant.
  • If you don’t already drink, it’s not recommended that you start.
  • Discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor, especially if you have chronic health conditions.

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Date Last Reviewed: February 19, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Nora Minno, RD, CDN

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