What are the health benefits of red wine?

Red wine consumed in moderation has been associated with improved heart health and reduced risk of related diseases such as obesity and diabetes. The alcohol and red wine-specific substances, including antioxidants such as the flavonoid resveratrol, may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of "good" cholesterol, reducing inflammation, increasing nitric oxide bioavailability, inhibiting fat cell proliferation, and protecting against artery damage.

While red wine clearly has more antioxidants than other sources of alcohol, there is still no clear evidence that red wine is better for your health than other delivery systems of alcohol because moderate alcohol consumption from any source delivers similar benefits. The heart benefits that may occur with red wine start with just 1 glass a day for women and 1-2 glasses for men.

Moderate alcohol consumption is considered 2 drinks/day for men; 1 for women. One drink contains 14 grams of alcohol meaning: one 12 oz beer (5% alcohol), one 5 oz glass of wine (12%) and one 1.5 oz of hard liquor (40% or 80 proof) are each one drink. The down side is that moderate drinking was recently associated with increased risk of breast cancer in women. Additionally, it can lead to excessive drinking*.  All this said, moderate drinking appears to be part of a healthy diet.

*Although high consumption of alcohol (2-3 times more than moderate) was still associated with a reduction in heart disease, drinking more than 2-4 drinks daily dramatically increases the risks of consuming more, which not only will negate any benefits, but will also lead to disease and danger to others.

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