If you can lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health with red wine, why not drink up over the holidays, right?
Red wine’s effects on circulation, vein and artery health, and overall heart health can be overblown. And why wouldn’t they be? It essentially serves as an excuse to do something a lot of people enjoy.
But the evidence supporting red wine’s purported health benefits is a little murky. Red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant common in foods such as berries, apples, and tea that can be good for your arteries. But it’s also got alcohol, which isn’t good for your heart.
Of course, one of the potential positive effects of red wine on blood pressure is reducing stress. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and helps most people relax, which can be appealing.
But there’s still plenty of debate surrounding whether red wine, in particular, has benefits to heart health.
Most of the research on red wine has found a link between the risk of dying from heart disease and moderate wine consumption. However, similar studies are showing comparable effects from spirits and beer, which don’t have resveratrol.
Red wine isn’t a special health food. In fact, you would likely have to get fall-down drunk in order to consume enough red wine to get the effects of its resveratrol.
So, take red wine and alcohol, in general, for what it is: something that can help people relax and enjoy the company of others.
If you’re toasting this holiday season, do so in moderation to truly enhance your experience. Usually, one or two glasses (maybe a third at a special holiday party) will let you unwind without posing a risk to heart health.
To really improve blood flow and circulation and enjoy a lower risk for heart disease, you’re best off adopting lifestyle routines such as a Mediterranean-style diet and getting daily exercise.
Mat Lecompte is a health and wellness journalist. This article was first published on BelMarraHealth.com.