A number of clinical studies have found that alcohol has indeed certain health benefits, most notably for the heart. Especially moderate consumption of red wine may reduce the risk of coronary disease.
Responsible for the health effects are certain chemical components in grapes, such as bioflavonoids and antioxidants. One of the antioxidants is called resveratrol, which is present in the skin of cabernet grapes and other red varietals.
Moderate Consumption of Red Wine
Has Shown Certain Health Benefits for the Heart
Resveratrol may help prevent platelets in the blood from sticking together and thereby protect against clot formation. The results are similar to the blood thinning effects of aspirin.
On the downside, drinking alcoholic beverages can lead to addiction and certain types of cancer. Even in small amounts, alcohol can interfere with nutrient absorption and metabolism. Additionally, alcoholic drinks are typically high in calories (7 calories per gram) and can contribute to weight gain.
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines define “moderate” drinking as two drinks for men and one drink for women per day. One drink equals 12 fl. oz. of beer, 5 fl. oz. of wine, or 1.5 fl. oz. of distilled liquor.
Pregnant women should not drink any alcohol. Common potential health risks include high blood pressure, obesity, elevation of triglycerides (fat content in the blood), certain forms of cancer, birth defects, growth inhibition (during puberty and teenage years) as well as accident proneness.