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Is Red Wine Bad For You?



Short answer

Many studies have concluded that red wine in moderation can be beneficial to your health, even fighting disease and cancer. However, too much can have reverse effects.



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Long answer

Red wine continues to be a debated topic and many are confused about whether it is good for you or not. The truth is that anything can be bad for you if you do it excessively, but, of course, some consequences are worse than others. Overconsumption of alcoholic beverages like wine has the ability to adversely affect your health. Still, there’s some strong evidence the shows that a balanced intake of red wine can have significant benefits to your health.

The hype about red wine mostly has to do with its antioxidants. These antioxidants, or polyphenols, counteract oxidation in the body that damages our cells. Polyphenols in wine such as resveratrol come from the grapes’ colored skin, red wine having a greater concentration than white.

Resveratrol in wine has become the center of attention for research on its properties and benefits to our body. This antioxidant has been linked to a decrease in inflammation, blood clotting, heart disease and certain cancers. For example, it inhibits oxidation and cholesterol buildup in the blood which is a primary cause of cardiovascular disease. Studies have also shown that resveratrol may help prevent memory loss and increase lifespan.

That being said, red wine doesn’t contain a large amount of resveratrol and should not be guzzled down to receive more of the antioxidant. A healthy regular amount (about 5 oz daily) of red wine can still be effective and lower your risk of heart disease by approximately 32% compared to non-drinkers. However, more than a moderate amount can dramatically increase your risk of cancer.

Many of these benefits apply more to the middle-aged and elderly than the younger demographic. In addition, a daily glass of wine for older ones could mean a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and depression.

Even though a controlled amount of red wine has surprising benefits to our body, like preventing weight gain and type 2 diabetes in women, an overconsumption can have the complete opposite effects. Therefore some would say the risks outweigh the benefits.

There are also many dangers with drinking too much alcohol. One of the worst is alcoholism which not only leads to a damaged body and possible liver cirrhosis, but a destroyed social life, work life, and ultimately tattered relationships.   

To maintain a healthy lifestyle for those who drink red wine, it is recommended for women to have no more than 1–1.5 glasses a day and men to have 1–2 glasses a day with some alcohol-free days during the week.

Possible short-term side effects

  • headache
  • vomiting
  • allergic reaction
  • disorientation
  • impaired decisions
  • intoxication
  • hangover

Possible long-term side effects

  • alcohol dependence
  • depression
  • death and disease
  • liver cirrhosis
  • weight gain

Ingredients to be aware of

  • pesticides
  • herbicides
  • equipment cleaning chemicals
  • sulfite preservatives


  • in moderation:
  • reduced inflammation
  • lower risk of heart disease and cancer
  • longer lifespan
  • reduced risk of dementia
  • reduced risk of depression
  • reduced insulin resistance
  • reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in women

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Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Aubrie Robinson
Published on: 03-31-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Aubrie Robinson
Published on: 03-31-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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