The talk about red wine being good for your heart has been going about amongst wine enthusiasts for a few years. There is a high possibility that you might hear someone top off their glass with more wine while saying, “don’t worry, it’s good for my heart anyway!”
It is true that red wine may contain antioxidants and other compounds which might do wonders for your mood and lower your stress. There are studies that suggest that red wine, in moderate quantities, may be beneficial for your coronary artery health, but the link is still not understood and confirmed.
So how did the theory that red wine is good for the heart, get its hype? When you ask this question to a supporter of the theory, they will point out the French Paradox to you.
The French Paradox
The French paradox, a term coined during the 1980s, refers to the perception that red wine consumption may explain why the French population has lower rates of heart disease, despite their daily intake of a rich, fatty diet.
The theory gave scientists and researchers a spur to dig deeper and find if this could be true. Multiple studies led to the discovery of polyphenols, which are plant compounds. Found in red and purple grapes, and as well as other vegetables and fruits, these compounds are beneficial for cardiovascular health. More specifically, a polyphenol called Resveratrol was found in red wine, which is advertised as being an anti-aging compound which also prevents heart diseases.
Research in mice showed that Resveratrol might have compelling benefits for the heart, but there is still no evidence of it having the same benefits for humans. In fact, if humans wanted to recreate the beneficial effects of Resveratrol from red wine, they would have to consume around thousand glasses each day. Further, a study in Italy of adults whose diets were already rich in Resveratrol showed no significant link between it and heart disease rates.
So where does this leave the initial theory of red wine being good for health?
Studies and Observations
Well, according to these studies and more, there is no strong evidence that proves the theory and suggests consumption of red wine. Cardiologists and researchers have made the arguments that the studies which show that people, who consume moderate amounts of red wine, have lower rates of heart disease are merely observational. According to them, these studies are only able to explain an association between the two, but no real evidence of cause and effect.
According to an article in the Circulation journal, there are even some studies which do not suggest that wine may be beneficial for your heart health than other type liquors and beer. If this were true, then Japanese people would have higher rates of cardiovascular disease. But the reality is on the contrary; heart disease rates in the Japanese population are even lower than of the French, yet they consume high amounts of beer, sake and other hard spirits.
According to the inclusive results of various studies the French paradox does not seem to be so paradoxical. Experts now believe that lifestyle habits and healthy dietary routines may explain good heart health better than red wine consumption. Another factor that berates the French paradox is a possible underreporting of cardiovascular diseases by the French doctors.
What is the Grape Truth?
The conclusion of the comparative studies and a long held discussion among cardiologists turns out to be indecisive. With no cogent evidence supporting the theory of red wine being beneficial for heart diseases, it remains baseless.
Regardless, wine is a milder alcoholic beverage and more suitable than other hard liquors, but that does not mean it should be consumed in large quantities. There is a fine line between drinking wine as a healthy habit and overdoing it. Overindulgence can actually be harmful for your body, affecting your liver, brain, heart and immune system. Cardiologists suggest a measured amount of wine consumption i.e. about 5 ounces per day or less along with a healthy diet.