The Definitive *Truth* About Red Wine Health Benefits
TBH, we'll prob keep drinking it either way
Raise your hand if you've justified a hefty pour of merlot on a Monday night with the words: "But red wine is good for you!" Honestly, same.
Regardless of whether you're a total wino who knows the difference between the base notes of cabernet and pinot noir or just enjoy pouring yourself a glass after a long day, you can probably attest to how great a good glass of vino really is. (It's no wonder that ancient Greeks used to overindulge in the good stuff, and millennials are following suit, apparently.)
And you've probably told yourself that choosing red wine over white is taking the booze "high-road" in the name of your health-but is red wine good for you, really? Well, kind of, but it's not quite that simple. Read on so you never have to second guess that one glass of red wine again.
The Red Wine Benefits
1. It cuts your risk of disease. Red wine contains resveratrol, which is basically the magic elixir that gives red wine its benefits. It's been tied to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and dementia.
2. It's good for your skin. Reservatrol can also slow the growth of acne-causing bacteria and may also give you glowing skin. (Hello, girls' night and buh-bye breakouts!)
3. It helps you chill out. Reservatrol also stimulates the release of the stress-response protein PARP-1, which activates genes that are responsible for repairing DNA and promoting longevity. (If you prefer the green stuff, consider this red wine made with THC.)
4. It strengthens those pearly whites. While a glass of red wine may temporarily turn your teeth (and tongue and lips) a little purple, it actually has some healthy mouth benefits. Red wine contains polyphenols, which studies show help keep harmful bacteria from attaching to teeth.
5. It can aid in digestion. All those polyphenols are actually pretty hard to digest. This sounds like a bad thing, but a Spanish study found that they actually feed the good bacteria in your gut.
6. It might improve your fertility. A study out of Washington University in St. Louis found that drinking red wine might boost your fertility because it's been linked to an increased number of eggs in your ovarian reserve.
7. It could help you lose weight. Just listen to the positive results from these studies: one from Washington State University shows that resveratrol helps transform "white fat" into "beige fat," the latter of which is easier to burn. Another by Harvard University looked at 20,000 women over the course of 13 years and found that those who drank two glasses of wine daily were 70 percent less likely to be overweight. Plus, other research found that resveratrol also helps suppress your appetite. Bam. (Keep reading: Does Red Wine Help You Lose Weight?)
8. It could even boost your workout performance. Say what?! Really-two studies have shown that resveratrol may mimic exercise in the body and boost workout performance (see, told you it was magic). However, the studies were done on rats, not humans, and they show that it takes a lot more resveratrol than you'll find in one glass of wine to reap the benefits. In one glass of red wine, there are only about 0.29 to 1.89 milligrams per 5 fluid ounces (a serving), says Lauren Schmitt, registered dietitian, certified personal trainer, and owner of Healthy Eating and Training Inc. This is much less than 146+ milligrams used in the study. Which means, yeah, you'd have to get pretty smashed on syrah before seeing any performance improvements (and your intoxication and the subsequent hangover would probably negate all that anyway).
The Catch: Is Red Wine Good for You, Really?
To reap some of the benefits of red wine, you have to drink a lot, and heavy drinking comes with a ton of downsides, like an increased risk of breast cancer, serious repercussions for your brain health, and a decreased chance of crushing your weight loss and fitness goals. Not to mention, alcohol use disorder (a.k.a. alcoholism) is on the rise among young women, and the number of young adults dying from alcohol-driven liver disease and cirrhosis has been increasing at an alarming rate.
So, yes, red wine does have some benefits and enjoying it here and there might be healthy in the name of #balance, but it's best to limit yourself to one glass of red wine a day (even though it's tempting to down half the bottle). Plus, wine is also loaded with sugar (it is made of grapes). You can choose dry wines instead of sweet to help cut down on the sweet stuff a bit, but portion control is your biggest ally.
Aaannddd if that didn't kill your buzz: Sadly, some research on the health benefits of red wine has been under fire for fabrication, while another study found that the safest amount of alcohol to consume is, well, none. Sigh.
In addition to drinking in moderation, it's important to make note of your wine-drinking habits: Here are 5 Common Red Wine Mistakes You Might Be Making that could turn this elixir of life into something not-so-healthy. Also, consider the perks of giving up alcohol completely (or at least for a little while, à la Dry January) to better understand how you use alcohol in social situations, to cope with emotions, and to see how your life might just be better without it-even if a little red wine is good for you.