Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Linda

Wine’s Effects

Red wine contains phytonutrients that may help block the effects of dioxins, a toxin that enters the body mainly through the diet and can present serious health concerns, including cancer. Red wine has seven times the antioxidant power of white wine, but neither is equal to grape juice. Alcoholic wine actively dehydrates the body. Red wine is a source of resveratrol, although there is limited and conflicting human data demonstrating any human benefits of resveratrol, especially in supplement form.

In the 1980s, red wine was touted as a possible explanation for the “French Paradox”—where it appeared that France had lower death rates than other countries with similar levels of saturated fat and cholesterol intake. But after correcting for under-reporting of ischemic heart disease deaths and taking into account that France’s eating patterns had increased saturated fat and cholesterol intake later than most countries, the mortality numbers related to animal fat and cholesterol consumption in France came into line with that of other countries.

Wine and Diseases

Beverages with alcohol could be carcinogenic to humans: nearly 5,000 breast cancer deaths a year may be attributable to just light drinking (up to one drink a day). While red wine appears to inhibit the cancer-enabling enzyme aromatase more than white wine, even red wine does not completely neutralize the elevated breast cancer risk associated with alcohol intake. Quercetin, a phytochemical found in red wine, may help lower the risk for colon cancer among people with familial adenomatous polyposis.

Sulfites added to some wines can release hydrogen sulfide, the rotten-egg gas that may play a role in the development of inflammatory bowel diseases. 

Benefits of Nonalcoholic Wine

Nonalcoholic red wine may help reduce blood pressure levels. As with balsamic vinegar, nonalcoholic red wine may enhance arterial function. Nonalcoholic wine may also inhibit the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. Red wine may increase insulin and triglyceride levels, though nonalcoholic red wine does not appear to do the same.

For substantiation of any statements of fact from the peer-reviewed medical literature, please see the associated videos below.


Image Credit: Heiko Grupp / Pixabay. This image has been modified.

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