Is red wine good for your heart? It’s a question long-debated with an answer long-awaited, especially by wine enthusiasts.
“Studies have shown that red wine has benefits that can impact heart health,” said Ruple Galani, MD, a cardiologist with Baptist Heart Specialists.
But don’t sip too fast.
“Of course, the benefits from red wine for your heart are very small in the big scheme of things,” said Dr. Galani. “Healthy diet and exercise play the largest role in overall heart health.”
The roar about your pour
Resveratrol, a plant compound that acts like an antioxidant, is found in grape skin and thus red wine when the grape juice ferments to alcohol.
Red wine is shown to have more antioxidant power than white wine because grape skins, seeds and stems (the source of resveratrol) are preserved with the crushed red grapes to ferment. For white wine, the skins, seeds and stems are removed.
“Because of resveratrol, red wine, in moderation, can raise healthy (HDL) cholesterol, lower blood pressure and reduce risk of blood clots,” said Dr. Galani.
Though red wine may be a favorite source of resveratrol, the compound is also found in:
- Dark Chocolate
Antioxidants, which help defend your cells from damage, can be found in nearly all plant and animal-based “superfoods,” such as dark green veggies, sweet potatoes and fish.
Everything in moderation
If “running” out of wine is your favorite type of cardio, it may be time to make some adjustments.
“If you’re seeking ways to be more heart-healthy, start with diet and exercise, not red wine,” said Dr. Galani, who recommends the Mediterranean Diet and 150 minutes of exercise per week. “Cardiovascular exercise will overwhelmingly have more benefits for heart health.”
Dr. Galani said though he is asked quite frequently by his patients about the benefits of red wine, he doesn’t encourage someone to start drinking alcohol if they don’t already do so. For those who do, women should drink no more than one glass per day and men should drink no more than one to two glasses daily.
The grape news? Studies have shown red wine can be beneficial for heart health. The most important news? A healthy diet and regular exercise have the most significant impact on heart health.
Alcohol can also be associated with many health risks, and not everyone should consume alcohol. Looking for ways to be more heart-healthy? Baptist Heart Specialists can help. Visit baptistjax.com/heart to learn more.