Entity answers the question of whether or not drinking wine regularly keeps you healthy.

If you’re like us, you will make any excuse to indulge in your favorite wine, choosing to believe the widespread notion that having one glass of wine per day may provide certain health benefits.  But does the research prove this true? We went on myth-busting mission to find out what’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to wine and its potential health benefits.

Let’s start with one of the most popular alleged benefits of red wine: It’s great for heart health. Good news! One glass of wine per day can protect against heart disease – but only for post-menopausal women and men over the age of 40. Evidence does not support the same benefits for younger people, since this population is generally not at risk for heart disease in the first place.

While increased alcohol consumption can lower the risk for coronary heart disease in post-menopausal women, research shows it simultaneously increases the risk for breast cancer. In the study, this trend applied to women who increased alcohol intake over a five year period, as opposed to women whose drinking habits remained stable.

Along the same lines, England’s Chief Medical Officer, Sally Davies, estimated drinking red wine everyday could increase the risk of breast cancer by as much as 13 percent. She recommends more exercise and better eating habits to achieve similar benefits without the increased risk.

If you still choose to occasionally indulge in a glass of wine, you can take comfort in a few proven benefits. A study found that moderate consumption of wine may improve memory and reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia by 23 percent compared to non-drinkers. In addition, alcohol variations that contain 10 percent ABV (alcohol by volume) or higher have been shown to prevent and reduce the severity of food poisoning and sicknesses such as salmonella.

Red wine can also raise your level of good HDL cholesterol by five to 15 percent and its polyphenol antioxidants may lower bad cholesterol, too. If you prefer not to drink alcohol, research suggests you can achieve the same result by drinking eight ounces of 100 percent purple grape juice (no sugar added) or eating purple or red grapes.

Nearly every report cautioned that men and women should not take up drinking wine as a preventative health measure. The health benefits of wine are modest and the risks associated with heavy drinking (should you over-indulge) often outweigh any positive gains.

So go ahead and continue to enjoy your one glass per day if you’re already a wine aficionado, just remember not to overdo it. Cheers to good health!

Edited by Ellena Kilgallon

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