The health benefits of wine

By Emily Grenfell

You know you shouldn't drink in excess, but lots of recent studies have shown that a regular, moderate intake of red wine can be good for you. In the name of seasonal good cheer, we gathered the best points for you.

A report in BMC Medicine found that men and women who drank 2-7 glasses of red wine per week were less likely to be diagnosed with depression. This remains true even when taking into account environmental and lifestyle factors.


Colon Cancer
Scientists from the University of Leicester reported that regular moderate red wine consumption can reduce the rate of bowel tumors by approximately 50%.

A study carried out at the University of London found that procyanidins, compounds found in red wine, keep your blood vessels healthy. They’re one of the factors that is known to contribute towards the longer life spans of people in Sardinia and the south of France. 

A team at Loyola University Medical Centre gathered data from academic papers on red wine from 1977 to now. The studies, which held data from 19 different nations, showed a significantly lower risk of dementia among moderate red wine drinkers in 14 countries.
This is because resveratrol reduces the stickiness of blood platelets, which helps keep your blood vessels open and flexible. This maintains a good blood supply to the brain. 

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reported that diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, the leading causes of blindness among people over 50, is caused by an overgrowth of blood vessels in the eye. The resveratrol in red wine can stop the out-of-control growth of these blood vessels, controlling the progression of blindness.

Damage after stroke
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine wrote that resveratrol raises levels of heme oxygenase, an enzyme known to protect the nerve cells in the brain from damage. When a stroke occurs, moderate red wine drinkers have a higher level of this enzyme, so their brain is ready to protect itself.

Liver disease
The UC San Diego School of Medicine carried out a study that concluded a modest wine consumption reduced the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by half, compared to those who never drank wine. Their research was reported in the journal Hepatology, and it also pointed out that regular modest beer or liquor drinkers had more than four times the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, compared to the wine drinkers. 

Prostate cancer
In June 2007 an issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch reported that male moderate red wine drinkers were 48% less likely to get prostate cancer, compared to men who never drank red wine. Their definition of moderate drinking was an average of four to seven glasses of red wine per week.
Even very moderate red wine consumption, around one glass per week, reduced men’s risk of prostate cancer by 6%!



According to these studies moderate wine consumption could have some health benefits, but regularly exceeding recommended units can lead to a higher risk of:

  • depression
  • mental health problems
  • cardiomyopathy
  • arrhythmias
  • stroke
  • hypertension
  • fatty liver
  • alcoholic hepatitis
  • cirrhosis
  • several cancers
  • pancreatitis

... as well as many other chronic diseases, so always drink responsibly.