Alternative medicine (2)
- Herbal supplements may not mix with heart medicines
- Chelation therapy for heart disease
- Chagas disease
- Flu shots: Especially important if you have heart disease
- Myocardial ischemia
Lifestyle and home remedies (7)
- Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease
- Menus for heart-healthy eating: Cut the fat and salt
- Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health
- see all in Lifestyle and home remedies
- Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?
- Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan
- Couponing and other frugal food shopping tips
- see all in Prevention
Risk factors (6)
- Metabolic syndrome
- Heart disease in women: Understand symptoms and risk factors
- see all in Risk factors
Tests and diagnosis (5)
- Blood tests for heart disease
- C-reactive protein test
- Cardiac catheterization
- see all in Tests and diagnosis
Treatments and drugs (5)
- Daily aspirin therapy: Understand the benefits and risks
- Angina treatment: Stents, drugs, lifestyle changes — What's best?
- see all in Treatments and drugs
Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?
Resveratrol in grapes, supplements and other foods
The resveratrol in red wine comes from the skin of grapes used to make wine. Because red wine is fermented with grape skins longer than is white wine, red wine contains more resveratrol. Simply eating grapes, or drinking grape juice, has been suggested as one way to get resveratrol without drinking alcohol. Red and purple grape juices may have some of the same heart-healthy benefits of red wine.
Other foods that contain some resveratrol include peanuts, blueberries and cranberries. It's not yet known how beneficial eating grapes or other foods might be compared with drinking red wine when it comes to promoting heart health. The amount of resveratrol in food and red wine can vary widely.
Resveratrol supplements are also available. While researchers haven't found any harm in taking resveratrol supplements, most of the resveratrol in the supplements can't be absorbed by your body.
How does alcohol help the heart?
Various studies have shown that moderate amounts of all types of alcohol benefit your heart, not just alcohol found in red wine. It's thought that alcohol:
- Raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol
- Reduces the formation of blood clots
- Helps prevent artery damage caused by high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol
Drink in moderation — or not at all
Red wine's potential heart-healthy benefits look promising. Those who drink moderate amounts of alcohol, including red wine, seem to have a lower risk of heart disease. However, more research is needed before we know whether red wine is better for your heart than are other forms of alcohol, such as beer or spirits.
Neither the American Heart Association nor the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend that you start drinking alcohol just to prevent heart disease. Alcohol can be addictive and can cause or worsen other health problems.
Drinking too much increases your risk of high blood pressure, high triglycerides, liver damage, obesity, certain types of cancer, accidents and other problems. In addition, drinking too much alcohol regularly can cause cardiomyopathy — weakened heart muscle — causing symptoms of heart failure in some people. If you have heart failure or a weak heart, you should avoid alcohol completely. If you take aspirin daily, you should avoid or limit alcohol, depending on your doctor's advice. You also shouldn't drink alcohol if you're pregnant. If you have questions about the benefits and risks of alcohol, talk to your doctor about specific recommendations for you.
If you already drink red wine, do so in moderation. Moderate drinking is defined as an average of two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. The limit for men is higher because men generally weigh more and have more of an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol than women do.
A drink is defined as 12 ounces (355 milliliters, or mL) of beer, 5 ounces (148 mL) of wine or 1.5 ounces (44 mL) of 80-proof distilled spirits.Previous page
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- Gresele P, et al. Resveratrol, at concentrations attainable with moderate wine consumption, stimulates human platelet nitric oxide production. Journal of Nutrition. 2008;138:1602.
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- Your guide to lowering blood pressure: Limit alcohol intake. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/prevent/l_alcohol/l_alcohol.htm. Accessed Dec. 15, 2010.
- Resveratrol. Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State Unversity. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/resveratrol/. Accessed Dec. 15, 2010.
- Resveratrol. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Dec. 15, 2010.