How Healthy Is Red Wine: Is it Really Good for the Heart?

glasses of red wine

There has long been continuous (friendly) debate about red wine and how it’s good for the heart. It has long been a widely held impression that goes all the way back to the late 1980s, which is the French Paradox. It refers to the idea that drinking wine has a lot to do with the low rates of heart disease among the French despite their love for fatty foods. In turn, the theory motivated the research and discovery of beneficial plant compounds found in red wine, which are polyphenols. 

Polyphenols are found in red and purple grape skins, which, in theory, explains the heart-protecting properties of wine. Another argument about red wine and its heart-protecting properties are about the Mediterranean diet that features red wine. 

It’s More About Healthy Habits 

Undeniably, studies suggest that wine is better for the heart than other alcoholic beverages, such as beer. However, there are also studies that don’t agree with this. 

The thing is, it’s challenging to know the effect of drinking patterns from specific types of alcoholic drinks. For example, those who drink more wine usually do it as part of their healthy pattern, such as drinking a glass or two with a nice meal. The habit is bigger evidence of their heart health, rather than the choice of alcoholic beverage. 

Also, when it comes to the French Paradox, Japanese heart disease rates are lower than in France, yet the Japanese drink a lot of beer instead of red wine. 

Polyphenols in Red Wine Don’t Do Much

The polyphenols that include resveratrol, a popular compound known for its heart-protecting and anti-aging properties, show zero evidence of any benefit for people who take resveratrol supplements. Also, an individual needs to drink a hundred to a thousand glasses of red wine every day to get the right amount of resveratrol equivalent to the doses that helped improve the health of mice. 

Additionally, a 2014 study of older adults in the Chianti region of Italy whose diets were naturally rich in the compound found no link between resveratrol levels and rates of heart disease. 

Is Red Wine Still a Good Idea?

There’s nothing wrong with drinking red wine, especially if you enjoy it. However, the best course of action here is to drink it in moderate amounts. Moderate drinking is defined as one drink per day for healthy women and two drinks per day for healthy men. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that the health effects of alcohol haven’t gone through long-term randomized trials yet. 


When it comes to drinking red wine and any other types of alcohol, it’s important to always drink moderately. After all, too much of anything can be harmful. With the lack of long-term and randomized trials, it makes sense to err on the side of caution, especially when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Don’t worry; you can still enjoy a glass of red wine! Just manage your expectations on its health benefits, and you’ll be fine. 

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