It’s time to retire the belief that red wine is good for your heart

Researchers and physicians are warning those who like to indulge to learn the full extent of the risk.

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New research has found not only is red wine not linked with any known health benefits, but can actually contribute to bad health. (Photo credit: Adobe Stock)

Red wine is good for many occasions — to pair with steak, mix in sangria, and sip among friends. One thing it’s not good for is your heart. 

More than 30 years ago, reports led many to believe red wine had health benefits, including reducing the chances of heart disease due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. While received positively by those who like to imbibe, as new research continues to contradict old findings, doctors and researchers are now cautioning us from sipping for the sake of our heart health.

New research has found not only is red wine not linked with any known health benefits, but can actually contribute to bad health. Most strikingly, due to its alcohol content, red wine could be a carcinogen that could negatively impact the heart. In fact, in January, the World Health Organization ruled that “No level of alcohol consumption is safe for our health.”

“That can be really hard to hear,”  Dr. Jennifer Hay, a behavioral scientist and health psychologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, told The New York Times.

While a harsh reality, it is just that. A 2023 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found “no significant” decrease in risk of “all-cause mortality” for individuals who drank less than 25 grams of ethanol per day (roughly the equivalent of two beers). In fact, the study found there was a significantly increased risk of all-cause mortality among female drinkers who drank 25 or more grams per day and among male drinkers who drank 45 or more grams per day. Meanwhile, other studies have found alcohol’s cancer risks.

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Red wine or drinking alcohol of any kind is also not recommended for heart health by the American Heart Association (AHA). In a report published by the AHA in 2019, one doctor noted it’s possible anyone who drinks red wine in moderation and has lower health risks may have a more active lifestyle or eat a heart-healthy diet such as a Mediterranean diet.

Even though Black Americans make up about 11% of the country’s wine drinkers, Black Americans have the highest risks of heart disease and higher risks of dying from cancer

The advice from experts isn’t to put a lid on drinking altogether — just to understand the full extent of the risk before you sip. 

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