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It’s like a yoyo in motion. One study claims that a daily glass of wine will keep you
healthy. The next warns of its dangers. Let’s sort out the facts, so you can make the
smart choice. Read more

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To Drink or Not to Drink, That is the Question

The health debate over wine has been raging for almost 20 years. On one side are experts like Seattle plastic surgeon Richard A. Baxter, MD, who claims that a daily glass of red wine should be part of your anti-aging regimen. On the other side are reputable nutritionists and doctors like New York internal medicine specialist Gary Rogg, MD, who warns that the health benefits of wine may be over-rated and the risks under-reported.


Both sides are supported by some impressive research studies, done by top investigators at America’s most prestigious scientific institutions. But let’s not bore you with the long and complicated list of pros and cons. Let’s cut to the chase…


If you’re concerned about health, the only wines to drink are red. Virtually all the studies agree on this point. And to get even more specific: the sweeter the red wine, the less health benefit it offers. Your absolute smartest choice, say researchers at the University of California, Davis, is Cabernet Sauvignon. That’s followed closely by Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir. Also, wines made in cooler, damper climates are healthiest. So, for example, imports from Sardinia, Argentina and southwest France are smart picks.


What makes red wine so good is an antioxidant called resveratrol. Found in the skin of red grapes, it can do amazing things for your health.  For example, it reduces “bad” (LDH) cholesterol while boosting your body’s production of “good” (HDL) cholesterol.  That means it works like a natural blood thinner, keeping blood vessels open and discouraging red blood cells from clumping together. Red wine makes it easier for your heart to pump and easier for your circulatory system to transport blood throughout the body.



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Bottom line: red wine appears to lower your risk for heart attack.It may also reduce your chances of suffering a stroke, which can happen if blood clots or arteries get blocked.  Early studies generally focused on resveratrol doses much greater than what you’d get from any glass of red wine. But now many doctors believe that even at lower levels, the antioxidant enhances cardiovascular health.


But resveratrol’s protective benefits don’t kick in until middle age. That’s defined as over 40 for men and over 50 for women. What’s more, it’s the first glass that does the trick, by relaxing blood vessels. More than that and you actually work against the medical benefits you’re after. Most experts advise 5-oz, three or four times a week for women and as much as twice that amount for men.  Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, however, says it’s better to drink just 3-oz everyday. And it’s definitely not good to “save up” your ounces and enjoy them all at once!


Of course, there are other natural sources of resveratrol. One recent study found that 100 percent pomegranate juice contains more resveratrol than red wine; and 100 percent Concord grape juice has almost as much.  For the 45 percent of all Americans who do not drink alcohol, good options include red grapes, grape seed oil, deep green vegetables, melon, peanuts, blueberries and cranberries because they all contain antioxidants very similar to resveratrol.  Beware, however, of resveratrol supplements because most cannot be absorbed by your body.




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