Wine and Health Basics

Most people appreciate wine for its delicious and complex taste. There are countless different types of wine, each pairing mouthwateringly well with certain combinations of food. This immense variety means, if you had enough money, you could live a lifetime without drinking the same wine twice. But how does wine affect your health?

A label approved by the BATF gives some indication that wine can be a healthful drink. In February 1999, the BATF allowed a label saying "The proud people who made this wine encourage you to consult your family doctor about the health effects of wine consumption."'

How does one drink wine healthfully? First off, wine, like any other item ingested, should be taken in moderation. Just like eating 8 pounds of chocolate a day is unhealthy, and 15 bags of potato chips for lunch will give bad results, so would drinking 8 bottles of wine a day. Wine, like anything else overdone, can harm your body in large quantities. The key is moderation.

The French Paradox - Helping Fight Heart Disease

So, assuming a glass of wine with dinner every day, what benefits will this wine bring to your body? Current research by UCA-Davis has shown that the wine is reducing coronary heart disease incidence. This was known as the "French Paradox" for a while, because doctors couldn't figure out why cream-loving French weren't dying from heart attacks frequently. Wine, it turns out, was the answer.

What is wine doing? The wine is altering the blood lipid levels. It lowers the total cholesterol count by both raising the high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels while lowering LDL levels. In essence, it keeps the blood vessels clean. Wine has been shown to decrease the "stickiness" of platelets, so that blood is less likely to clump inside blood vessels. Studies find that the stickiness effect lasts around 2 days, which is why a glass a day is so helpful.

For those looking to maintain a healthy weight, wine helps lower glucose and insulin levels. Moderate drinking can reduce blood pressure as well.

Many of the health benefits are caused by the resveratrol naturally found in the wine grapes. In fact, a Copenhagen heart study followed 130,000 people for 10 years. Those patients who averaged 6 glasses of wine a week had death rates that were 30-40% lower than normal.

In general, researchers have found that those who drink 1-3 glasses a day regularly are healthier than those who drink none, and also than those who drink more.

Any alcohol, like any other food item, can be used properly, or can be used to excess. Some people are sensitive to the natural sulfites found in wine - sulfites are higher in whites than in reds. Others get migrane headaches from too many tannins, which are found mostly in red wines. While avoiding misuse, we should also rejoice in the many fine benefits that can be had by properly using wine as it was meant to be used - in moderation.

Caloric Chart

5oz Wine: 100
5oz "Lite" wine: 80
12oz Wine Spritzer: 120
12oz Wine Cooler: 215

Caveat: I am not a doctor ... for detailed answers about how wine will affect you personally given your medical condition and lifestyle, contact your family physician


A great deal of research and work went into my wine / health pages. If you use this information, please credit me properly. Thanks!

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All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.