Red wine does a body good—except for when it's slowly killing you. For every study that touts the health benefits of red wine, there's some buzzkill reminding us that booze is bad. The conflicting advice is so confusing it's dizzying, which can leave you feeling sorta drunk.
For starters, you may have heard about red wine being "heart healthy." That's because the flavonoids in red wine are believed to lower "bad" cholesterol and raise "good" cholesterol, which is supposed to prevent blocked arteries. It's has anticoagulant properties, which reduces blood clotting, but that only works while the wine is in your system, so in order to stave off a heart attack, you'd have to keep tossing 'em back. But then you're placed at a risk of the long-term effects of excessive alcohol use, which, ironically, includes cardiovascular problems.
Drinking red wine can extend a person's life, except for when it makes them die. The natural chemicals found in red wine are believed to help prevent Alzheimer's disease, but then again, wine consumption is linked to dementia.
Resveratrol, the magic ingredient responsible for most of the health benefits of red wine (the magical aspects of which have been greatly exaggerated), is thought to slow the aging process. But most people recognize that heavy drinking eventually leaves you looking old and gross.
Speaking of magic and the way you look, red wine actually blocks fat cells from forming. The bummer with that, though, is that booze calories "count more" for moderate drinkers. Also, red wine could negate the health effects of exercise, so it doesn't seem like a very good weight loss plan. The compounds in red wine can prevent cavities and plaque buildup, but dentists warn that alcohol is super corrosive for your gums. And anybody who's looked in the mirror after a glass or four has been presented with the horror of wine teeth and chapped wine lips.
It also boosts the immune system, fights bacteria, works against retinal disease, and can increase bone mineral density. But heavy drinking, particularly at a young age, can put you at risk for developing osteoporosis later in life.
The compound in red wine might help treat some kinds of cancers, and red wine can be helpful in preventing bone cancer and breast cancer. Except that boozing is linked to breast cancer as well as mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon cancer.
So how much is too much? At what point does wine turn from being healthy to unhealthy? Apparently, for women, it's one 5 oz glass per day. Men get to drink two glasses per day, which is bullshit.
If that depresses you, pour yourself a glass of pinot noir. People who drink a glass of red wine a day are less likely to be depressed. And if nothing else, just know that if you drink a lot of red wine, you're still less of a drunk than a white wine drinker.
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