The notion that red wine is good for your health, particularly your heart, has become popular in recent years due in large part to media dissemination of half-truths, partial facts, and very small studies. It is very important to clearly understand the relationship between drinking alcohol and maintaining optimal health. There are many variables to consider. When in doubt, discuss the matter further with your trusted care provider.
Four Misconceptions about Wine and Heart Health
- It’s an Antioxidant
Red wine contains some antioxidants, but the amount in a healthy serving of red wine is miniscule compared to antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, and supplements.
- It Lowers Cholesterol
Non-alcoholic red wine has been shown to decrease bad cholesterol. Regular red wine, however, does not seem to affect bad cholesterol (LDL). Though, it has been shown to increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
- It Lowers Blood Pressure
Alcohol actually raises blood pressure. The relaxing effects of alcohol consumption might temporarily decrease blood pressure, but alcohol consumption will worsen hypertension in the long run.
- It’s Heart Attack Prevention in a Glass
Red wine (and other alcoholic beverages) can actually immediately increase a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke after consumption.
Alcohol and Inflammation
The truth is that a glass of red wine (or any other type of alcoholic drink) contains a large quantity of sugar, or simple carbohydrates. When these simple carbohydrates reach the digestive system, they first affect healthy microflora living in the stomach. Sugar triggers the production of an abnormal amount of lipopolysaccharides (LPS) that cause an inflammatory immune response in the gut. Once sugar reaches the intestines, it overloads the body’s digestive system and the liver’s toxin-clearing response. This allows sugar to enter the bloodstream, leading to general inflammation throughout the body. Such inflammation not only increases the risk of heart disease, but also of developing other undesirable medical conditions like depression, cancer, and dementia.
Start a Truly Heart-Healthy Diet
Although red wine does contain some good-for-you nutrients, like resveratrol, it’s not a miracle health food. In fact, many doctors would argue that the alcohol and sugar in red wine counteract the benefits of any antioxidant effects. Make an appointment with a clinician at Abella Health to discuss the best diet and course of action to prevent a cardiac episode.