Moderate alcohol consumption has long been known to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, does red wine offer more protection to the heart than other alcoholic beverages?
Fortunately for wine lovers, the answer appears to be yes. Scientists believe that the antioxidants in red wine, called polyphenols, play an important role in preventing atherosclerosis (a thickening or hardening of the inside of the arteries caused by a buildup of plaque).
One study, which was reported in the journal Atherosclerosis, compared the benefits of drinking red wine versus gin, an alcoholic beverage which contains far fewer polyphenols. During the study, the scientists had the test participants drink the beverages at different times and then carefully measured the levels of known inflammatory biomarkers in the blood related to atherosclerosis. The lead author of the study, Emanuel Rubin, professor of pathology at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia stated, “It’s clear from these results that while drinking some form of alcohol lowers inflammatory markers, red wine has a much greater effect than gin.”
As beneficial as this study and others like it seem, more research is needed before we can recommend drinking red wine every night. Alcohol can be addictive and has the potential to cause a host of health and relationship problems. If you do regularly consume alcoholic beverages, be sure to drink in moderation. For healthy adults that means consuming not more than one drink a day (equivalent to 5 ounces of wine) for women and up to two drinks a day for men.