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We often hear people in India forcing their friends, who don’t drink scotch, beer, vodka or any other alcoholic beverage, to have red wine. The reason they give, because it’s good for health. So, is red wine good for health? In fact, we all have also heard the same statement quite often. Let’s get the true story behind this fact.

Wine is actually an alcoholic drink, made from fermented grapes, and is considered a relatively healthier option as compared to other alcoholic beverages, because of the presence of certain healthy compounds in it. Generally, the colour of the wines we have is red or white, but there can be various shades of the two colours. Red wine is considered to be more beneficial to the two. Is red wine good for health- let’s see what the research says-

 pouring red wine in glass

According to the 2011 study in the Journal of Enology and Viticulture, by J. M. Guilford & J. M. Pezzuto, “It has been estimated that the medicinal use of wine dates back to 2200BC, making it the oldest known medicine. Historically, wine has been used as an antiseptic, a painkiller, and to treat dermatological conditions and diges­tive disorders… There is also a large body of evidence that supports the health benefits derived from grapes, grape juice, and grape seed extract (GSE). These products have been used to treat a variety of conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular dis­ease, ischemic stroke, neurodegenerative disorders, aging, hy­pertension, hyperlipidemia, and dental caries… Although the chemical constituents of grapes and wine vary to some degree, similar therapeutic effects have been attributed to wine. Some investigators believe these benefits may actually be enhanced in wine, perhaps due to additive effects with the alcohol component of wine and/or to an increased bioavailability of wine polyphenols as a result of the fermentation process.”

The major hue and cry, when it comes to red wine and health benefits are from a polyphenolic compound found in grapes (especially red wine) called resveratrol. Wine is vulnerable to fairly rapid destruction by light and oxygen, the fact that wine is stored in air-tight, cool conditions away from sunlight protects the resveratrol content. Only immediately after a bottle of wine is opened is the maximum resveratrol potency available. Since making wine also involves potential damage from alcohol and preservatives, many people prefer a dietary supplement source.

barracks of red wine

Resveratrol, acc. to a 2006 study in the journal Current Drug Targets, by a research team led by French Researcher D. Delmas, is a plant toxin, which is produced in the grape skin, to protect itself from infection from a plant pathogen named Botrytis Cinerea. Resveratrol is also found in other fruits and berries like raspberry, acai berry, plums, tomatoes, peanuts and peanut products like peanut butter, and supplements like Grape Seed Extract, etc.

In a 2004 study in the journal Drug, Metabolism and Disposition, T. Walle and fellow researchers found that resveratrol has a high absorption rate but low bioavailability in the human body, especially from oral ingestion. Most of the oral resveratrol taken during the study was found to pass out of the body through urine and very less amount was found in the body for use.

But what one needs to focus is on the fact that 500mg of resveratrol, which has been used in many of the studies, equates to almost 40litres of wine. If you try your hand on this amount of wine, you would probably die of alcohol poisoning, before you could even think of any health benefits. One would need to drink roughly 1300 glasses of red wine every day to match the resveratrol content from the studies. So co you see, whether is red wine good for health or not.

According to the research by, “There appears to be no difference between the resveratrol in food and wine compared to capsule form. However, resveratrol has low bioavailability anyways at around 10% of the ingested dose being bioactive.”wineyard full of grapes

Now, having a drink or two of Red wine or for that matter, any alcoholic beverage is not the issue. There is no need to convince yourself or anybody, why you like to booze. The aim is to stay within moderation when drinking, and not to worry about health benefits the drink can incur. This is because in 2011 when the American Heart Association did a poll among a thousand adults to inquire about the fact that whether they know about the benefits of drinking red wine, 76% of the adults thought red wine is good for heart, but only 30% were aware of the recommended limits.