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Written by Helen Chu, MS RDN, Registered Dietitian

Some of us like to wind down after a long day with a glass of wine.  Alcohol beverages are often used in social, family gatherings and special events as part of celebration.
Over past decades, studies suggest that moderate alcohol consumption especially red wine may lower risk of heart disease.  Red wine ‘s potential benefit is from its resveratrol content. Resveratrol, a polyphenol (plant chemical) in red wine comes from skin of red, purple grapes produces protective effects include reducing damage to blood vessels, slowing down the formation of blood clot, helping breakdown of LDL (bad cholesterol), and raising HDL (good cholesterol).  Higher HLD level is associated with lower risk of heart disease

Resveratrol content

Red wine is fermented with grape skins, longer than is required in white or rose wine.  So red wine has a higher resveratrol content. The amount of resveratrol in red wine can vary widely. Pinot Noir has the highest level of resveratrol.  A meal with a glass of Pinor Noir pairing with salmon gives you the benefit of both polyphenol and omega 3 fatty acid.
 
 What is Moderation

 If you enjoy wine, consume with moderation. US Dietary Guideline (2015-2020) defined moderation as:
  • Women:   1 drink per day,
  •  Men:       2 drinks per day
  • One drink:  5 ounces (150 ml) of wine;12 ounces (355 ml) of beer;1.5 ounces (44 ml) of 80-proof distilled spirits
                                
Additional advice
  • Excessive drinking increases risk of certain cancer, heart failure, hypertension, irregular heart rhythm, alcoholism, liver disease.
  •  Female who is at risk of breast cancer or has strong family history of such, consider limiting to occasional drinking.
  • People with certain medical conditions, such as liver disease, high triglyceride, abnormal heart rhythm, should consult your doctor for advice on alcohol consumption.
  • Certain medication (even over the counter) may interact with alcohol.  Check the label warning on medication, or seek advice from Pharmacist.
  • Many experts also recommend that men older than age 65 should limit to no more than one drink per day.
 
Calories in wine can be built up.  Wine has lower calories than beer or mixed drinks.  Higher alcohol content contains more calories.  Mixers such as soft drinks and juices will build up additional calories:
 
  Calories
12 oz beer 120-150
5 oz wine (red or white) 90-120
1.5 oz  80-proof  hard  liquor * 100
1.5 oz liqueurs    * 180
Champagne 4 oz 85
Cocktail      4 oz  * 120-170
Baijui 3.4 oz  ( 100 ml)  50-60 proof  300
                        
 
To Drink or Not To Drink
  • American Heart Association and US Dietary Guideline recommend that individuals who do not drink should not start drinking to prevent heart disease.
  • There is a way to get the benefit of resveratrol without drinking red wine.  Some foods contain resveratrol, such as blue berries, cranberries, grapes, peanuts, grape juice.
  •  Whether you drink or not, healthy life style such as healthy eating, regular exercise, weight control, stop-smoking can promote heart and overall health.


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Written by Helen Chu, MS RDN, Registered Dietitian