Red Wine and Your Health

In light of the extreme heat, the never ending drought and the horrifying fires that have touched so many lives in Bastrop and forever changed so many people’s worlds, it seems time for some good news.  So sit back, grab a glass of red wine if you can, and learn about the great reasons to take this kind of break more often.

A few drinks in a week can actually be a good thing for your heart-health as studies have indicated that moderate drinkers (5 – 9 alcoholic drinks per week) have lower risk of dying from heart related disease than do non-drinkers.  Keep in mind, of course, that heavy drinkers have much higher risk so lets not overdo it here. This means moderate drinkers have lower risk of coronary heart disease (or CHD) than do people who don’t drink any alcoholic drinks at all.  By decreasing your risk of coronary heart disease,  you are also decreasing your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Red wine  may actually be the healthiest of the alcohols, but any alcohol is better than no alcohol (I bet you never thought you’d hear a doctor say that).  Red wine is special because of something called resveratrol, which is a powerful antioxidant.  Resveratrol (or red wine) shows great anti-cancer properties, it’s good for your heart, it may even help with clear-thinking.  The best part is, it’s in red wine.  It’s also in purple grape juice, for those of you who don’t like wine or don’t like alcohol in general (but keep in mind the benefits of resveratrol are in addition to the benefits of alcohol).  It comes out of the dark colored skins of the grapes and is a great addition to your diet.

Don't worry, it's good for you. Thanks for the picture Mick Stephenson!

A small amount of alcohol also acts as a blood thinner and improves your circulation through small vessels, which is part of why you may flush when you drink – the blood vessels near your skin open up and so you turn pink. So here’s a summary:

Health Benefits of Alcohol (In Moderation):

  • Mild blood thinner that increases circulation to small vessels in your body
  • Lowers your risk of heart disease
  • Lowers your risk of heart attack

Health Benefits of Red Wine:

  • Powerful antioxidant
  • Anti-cancer properties
  • Boosts your heart health
  • May increase clarity of thought
  • All the usual benefits of alcohol

Things Alcohol Doesn’t Help With:

  • Sleep – even if it feels like it.  Read more here
  • Judgement – but I’m guessing you knew this already
  • Driving – please just don’t

It’s important to listen to your body and to know your own tolerances.  I’m a very small person and I have a low tolerance, so I treat a half-sized drink for a normal person like a full drink for me (I’m about half the size of a regular person anyway so this all works out). It’s about knowing my limits and listening to my body.  Alcohol tolerance changes with things like sleep, stress, the amount of food you’ve eaten, your hydration status and where you are in your hormone cycle.  Just remember to always pay attention – just because last week you had two glasses of red wine without any problems doesn’t mean you can today.  Always err on the side of moderation.

Also remember one glass of wine = 6 oz.  Please note the size of the wine glasses in your kitchen because most of them, if you actually filled them, would be about 24 oz of wine. The best thing to do is measure out 6 oz of water and put it in your favorite wine glass to see what that actually looks like.  If you double it that counts as two glasses of wine, even if it all fits in one wine glass.  Don’t get sneaky with your measuring…

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