Eight Myths About Drinking Red Wine in Moderation

Drinking a glass of wine sporadically, as part of a meal with company, isn't as harmful as drinking it every day.
Eight Myths About Drinking Red Wine in Moderation

Last update: 25 July, 2022

Even if it ends up causing many hangovers, many people like drinking red wine. In fact, it’s one of the most widely consumed alcoholic beverages around the world and on all kinds of occasions, from informal gatherings to large celebrations.

As it shares its origin with grape juice, it’s also considered to be a source of antioxidants. For this very reason, many have chosen to regularly incorporate a glass into their meals. All this with the aim of improving, or maintaining, as the case may be, health and, above all, cardiovascular health.

Below we’ll review the reasons why it’s healthy to drink this beverage.

Myths about drinking red wine in moderation

1. It’s good for your brain

A glass of red wine.
Red wine is a natural source of resveratrol.

Due to its high concentration of antioxidant compounds, including resveratrol, drinking red wine can help to protect the brain cells from the effects of oxidative stress. These substances support the regeneration of tissues and regulate the blood flow to guarantee an adequate process of oxygenation of the brain. Drinking one glass a day is enough to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia and other neurological disorders.

According to an article published in the Cuban Journal of Food and Nutrition, it should be noted that “a large proportion of polyphenols are probably not absorbed at the level of the intestinal lumen, but either they or their bacterial degradation products are concentrated at the level of the ileum or large intestine where they can exert beneficial interactions with the mucosal cells of the distal intestine”.

Polyphenols have antioxidant properties, which is why they’re beneficial in disease prevention and body protection. Especially for intestinal epithelial cells, the authors of the article explain.

According to a note from the Spanish Foundation of the Digestive System (FEAD), “a moderate consumption of wine has been considered healthy, in fact it’s included in the Mediterranean diet. Wine is a fermented beverage of low alcohol content and possesses molecules that could counteract the harmful effects of free radicals responsible for the oxidative stress of alcohol”.

Although it’s possible to find scientific literature indicating that moderate consumption of red wine can be beneficial to your health, it’s necessary to read the information carefully because what often causes the most problems is what each person understands by “moderate” consumption.

2. It prevents premature aging

The most widespread myth of all about the consumption of red wine is that it supposedly helps prevent premature aging. This is due to its antioxidant content. However, to avoid this consequence, rather than consuming an alcoholic beverage, you should maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow the doctor’s instructions, not only the dermatologist.

You can’t have young, healthy and beautiful skin just from the application of a specific moisturizing product, or the consumption of a handful of fruits rich in antioxidants. This is because it’s achieved through a series of habits sustained over time in a consistent manner.

3. It improves cardiovascular health

Although red wine is a beverage that possesses flavonoids with potential to promote cardiovascular health, health experts indicate that this doesn’t mean it’s necessary to consume it daily, much less in large quantities.

According to experts at the American Heart Association, moderate consumption is defined as one drink per day.

Dr. Plaza reminds us “It’s important to emphasize that red wine consumption is beneficial for cardiovascular health as long as it’s in moderation. Excess alcohol in the body increases blood pressure, which favors the appearance of hypertension.”

4. It can prevent depression

A woman that needs to drink red wine.

According to a study conducted in rodents, the polyphenols in red wine may have some antidepressant effect. However, this isn’t the case in humans.

Health and psychology experts indicate that it’s NOT advisable to drink red wine or any other alcoholic beverage as a “treatment” for any mood disorder. Alcohol isn’t a solution and it’s best to seek therapy, follow your family doctor’s instructions and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

5. It gives you energy

Scientists haven’t proven that drinking red wine “increases” energy levels in people. In fact, it most commonly causes a certain drowsiness, as well as headaches. Therefore, it’s neither advisable nor necessary to consume wine in order to “wake up”, much less in large quantities. All excesses are harmful.

6. It improves oral health

Another of the myths associated with drinking red wine in moderation is that it supposedly helps strengthen oral health. Specifically, it was claimed that its compounds could have an antimicrobial action. This is because it prevents the proliferation of pathogens in the mouth, which causes problems such as cavities and gingivitis.

According to a study published in 2009, there’s very little evidence that red wine consumption has any positive effect on human oral health. Therefore, you shouldn’t rush to conclusions or generalizations based on data yet to be analyzed.

5. Drinking red wine improves respiratory health

The main antioxidant compound in red wine, resveratrol, has the ability to create a protective barrier in the respiratory tracts. Its anti-inflammatory and detoxing action cleanses the respiratory tracts and controls the excessive production of phlegm, to prevent congestion. However, scientific evidence doesn’t refer to these effects, but rather to the fact that resveratrol has beneficial effects, at a general level, on the body.

You should keep in mind that wine won’t strengthen your lungs in a special or fast way. In addition, it won’t strengthen your immune system just by drinking a glass or more a day. You can only get these type of benefits if you drink it in moderation, within the framework of a healthy lifestyle.

A person swishing a glass of wine around.
It isn’t necessary to drink red wine daily, even in moderation, to take care of the respiratory system.

6. It fights urinary infections

Although it was popularly claimed that antioxidants in beverages such as wine could help prevent urinary tract infections, this is a myth similar to that of cranberry juice. It isn’t the consumption of such beverages that makes you better, but good hydration combined with proper treatment and healthy lifestyle habits.

Conclusion about drinking red wine

No single drink, food or product is going to guarantee your health. Therefore, it’s important that you rely on good lifestyle habits. Furthermore, that you maintain them over time in a consistent manner. Eat well, exercise daily, apply techniques to manage stress, stay well hydrated and always bet on a healthy lifestyle.

Although people claim that red wine contains substances beneficial to your health (such as antioxidants), we don’t recommend consuming it daily, much less in large quantities to stay healthy or “young”. Excessive alcohol consumption is harmful.

Keep in mind that drinking more wine won’t make you feel or look better. Therefore, always drink it in moderation and reserve this drink for special events.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Gharaee-Kermani, M., Moore, B. B., & Macoska, J. A. (2016). Resveratrol-mediated repression and reversion of prostatic myofibroblast phenoconversion. PloS one11(7), e0158357.
  • Mirkarimi, M., Eskandarion, S., Bargrizan, M., Delazar, A., & Kharazifard, M. J. (2013). Remineralization of artificial caries in primary teeth by grape seed extract: an in vitro study. Journal of dental research, dental clinics, dental prospects7(4), 206-10.
  • Stockinger, J., Maxwell, N., Shapiro, D., deCabo, R., & Valdez, G. (2017). Caloric restriction mimetics slow aging of neuromuscular synapses and muscle fibers. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A73(1), 21-28.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.