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How to Tell if Your Wine Habit is Healthy

How to Tell if Your Wine Habit is Healthy

You’ve seen the research showing that moderate wine consumption can benefit health, but how do we find the balance between moderate and over-consumption?

I like a good glass of red as much as the next person. A warming red wine hot toddy on a chilly evening hits the spot, and because there are so many studies pointing to the benefits of wine it feels like a relatively healthy indulgence. But where do the health risks of drinking start to outweigh the benefits of red wine?

Related reading: Vegetarian…Wine?

Cardiologist Dr. Joel Kahn recently shared his perspective on wine drinking. He explains that you can think of wine’s benefits on a U-shaped curve. It’s called a Bell Curve, and what it expresses is that benefits increase up to a certain point, then decrease rapidly.


a typical Bell Curve

a typical Bell Curve

Wine and Health: Deconstructing the Bell Curve

The benefits of wine are different for men and for women, because women metabolize alcohol differently. For women, Kahn says that one drink a day is “moderate,” while men can have two. He also shares some insights on moderate drinking that he gives to his cardiac patients:

  • There is human research showing the benefits of wine. In moderation, wine has been shown to increase life expectancy. Alcohol can help raise your body’s levels of good cholesterol. It also reduces inflammation and has a number of other benefits that Kahn outlines in his article.

Related Reading: Can alcohol improve bone health?

  • A ”glass of wine” is five ounces. Five ounces is 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons. Measure out that amount into a wine glass to get a visual idea of how much that is. Those over-sized wine glasses at restaurants hold far more than a single serving of wine.
  • The top of the curve is 1-2 drinks for women and 2-4 for men. If you’re looking for health benefits in wine-drinking, you want to hit that sweet spot at the top of the Bell Curve. Once you pass Kahn’s definitions for moderate amounts of wine, the costs start to outweigh the benefits. If you want to play it safe, stick to the low ends of those ranges, and get that beneficial resveratrol elsewhere instead.
  • Drinking isn’t for everyone. Of course, if you don’t react well to alcohol or just plain don’t want to drink, don’t. Sure, wine has health benefits, but so do lots of other things.

Do you drink the occasional glass of wine? A daily glass? Let’s talk wine and health in the comments!

Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Drinks, Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Health, Healthy Aging, Women's Health, , , , , , ,

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


+ add your own
2:58PM PDT on Aug 19, 2014

Hey, Debbie C., I'm with you! Insurance should pay for it. Prevention is worth more than curing something after getting it.

Green Stars for Debbie!

1:24AM PDT on Jul 25, 2014

I gave up drinking a long time ago. But, my doctor suggested it because of my heart problems! I do not like red wine at all. I found a white wine that I like, but it is very expensive. I asked my doctor if he thought my insurance would cover it, but he said he doubted it (LOL) !!

7:08AM PDT on Jul 17, 2014

this one keeps getting bounced around

5:03AM PDT on May 21, 2014

There are many out there that drink too much!!!
My great grandmother used to say eat a bit of everything in moderation and listen to your body, if some foods don't agree best avoid, and lived to great age, she had her wine also, in small doses.

9:04PM PDT on May 17, 2014

Unfortunately the data on reservatol hasn't panned out in showing that it lengthens lifespan. There was no difference between the people who drank red wine vs those who did. Unfortunately it appears alcohol consumption also increases many different types of cancer as well, and there's been no dose that's determined safe. But, one has to live life as well! In moderation as they say.

8:39PM PDT on May 16, 2014

Thank you!

4:10PM PDT on May 15, 2014

Que rico el vino tinto pero ahora dicen otras investigaciones que no es inofensivo un componente recuerdo el nombre perdon...

8:31AM PDT on May 15, 2014

I must have my Red Wine every night and I have more then 2! Destresser!

2:43PM PDT on May 14, 2014


6:13AM PDT on May 14, 2014

My wine habit is healty !! Havent drank in nearly 19 yrs.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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