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  • Drinking Wine | Effects, Benefits, & Risks

    Published on September 8, 2021
    Drinking Wine | Effects, Benefits, & Risks

    Wine is a popular type of alcohol made from grapes. It has been drunk for centuries all over the world. Wine and moderate alcohol intake have long been linked to improved health in various areas.

    While some studies show moderate red wine drinking can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, not every study agrees with these findings.

    Effects Of Drinking Wine

    The main ingredients of wine that affect your body are water, ethanol, and polyphenols. Polyphenols are a type of chemical compound found in fruits and vegetables, which includes red grapes and white grapes. 

    When grapes are used to make wine, polyphenols can end up in the bottle of wine in your pantry. Polyphenols can improve and protect some parts of your body when you consume them, and their presence in wine is a large part of wine’s supposed health benefits.

    Wine’s other main ingredient, alcohol, is a depressant. It slows activity in your body and brain, making you feel relaxed at low levels.

    Possible Benefits Of Drinking Wine

    Popular beliefs about wine and your health include drinking one glass of wine per day to improve your health. On average, a five-ounce glass of wine will meet the requirements for a standard drink, which dietary guidelines say to stay below to avoid health problems.

    Some studies do support the claim that moderate wine drinking can help with your health.

    Lower Risk Of Heart Disease

    Moderate amounts of wine, especially red wine, have been linked to improved forms of heart health over the years. An average glass of red wine has many polyphenols in it. These polyphenols are antioxidants that are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.

    Antioxidants like resveratrol and quercetin can have anti-inflammatory effects on the heart, improving circulation. They are also linked to higher amounts of HDL, the “good” type of cholesterol that can reduce blood clotting.

    Even studies that suggest links between wine, polyphenols, and improved heart health show the strongest links are with moderate drinking. When moderate drinking becomes heavy drinking, the risks of wine start to outweigh the benefits.

    Lower Risk Of Weight Gain & Obesity

    Studies on alcohol and weight gain are limited, but the ones that exist show a slight link between moderate drinking and a lower risk of weight gain and obesity.

    One study showed that people who moderately drank red wine had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and health problems caused by diabetes. Another study showed that adult women who moderately drank alcohol had a lower chance of weight gain than women who did not drink.

    Other factors, like healthy eating and family history, may affect these results. Alcohol also reduces your appetite, which can lead to eating less. The link between alcohol and weight gain may need further study.

    Risks Of Drinking Wine

    Though the protective effects of drinking wine have been studied for years, the results are inconsistent. More recent studies suggest any amount of wine can lead to an increased risk of health problems, even moderate wine consumption.

    Some studies point to red wine as the only type of wine that can improve your health. Other types of wine, like white wine, rosé wine, or dessert wine, have less evidence than red wine for improving your health.

    Like any other type of alcoholic drink, wine is linked to a number of health problems. The risk likely goes up if you drink more wine. Moderate drinking has fewer risks than excessive drinking, but no type of drinking is completely safe.

    Heart Problems

    Drinking too much wine can lead to an increased risk of heart problems. While antioxidants in wine can improve heart health, other ingredients in wine can put your heart at risk.

    Forms of cardiovascular disease that are linked to drinking too much wine include:

    Liver Damage

    Alcohol in wine is broken down in the liver. While moderate amounts of wine can have anti-inflammatory effects, too much wine can actually have inflammatory effects. 

    Inflammation from drinking alcohol can happen in the digestive system, the blood vessels, and even the liver—a condition known as alcoholic hepatitis.

    Addiction & Mental Health Issues

    Low amounts of wine can cause pleasant feelings of relaxation. Too much wine can cause dependence in your brain and damage your mental health. 

    Excessive drinking can change the chemical balance in your brain. It can also cause brain damage in the long term. If you no longer feel enjoyment when you drink wine but feel like you have to drink anyway, you may have an alcohol use disorder.

    Alcohol use disorders can happen with any kind of alcohol, including wine. It can feel like alcohol is controlling your life, or that you cannot quit even if you want to. 

    To find a professional treatment program that can help you quit drinking, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    American Heart Association - Wine and Cardiovascular Health
    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI) - Contribution of Red Wine Consumption to Human Health Protection
    National Library of Medicine: PubMed Central - Alcohol Consumption, Weight Gain, and Risk of Becoming Overweight in Middle-aged and Older Women
    National Library of Medicine: PubMed Central - Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease

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