The occasional glass of wine may have significant positive effects on heart health. The antioxidants in red wine (both flavonoids and resveratrol) have been proven to raise HDL (the “good cholesterol”), reduce the formation of blood clots, reduce LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and decrease blood pressure. Several prospective studies suggest that light to moderate alcohol consumption may decrease the risk of coronary heart disease by 40 to 70%. Occasional, moderate consumption is generally considered best. The negatives outweigh the positives if wine is drunk in excess, so keep your consumption moderate.
Part 1 – Incorporating Wine into Your Diet
- Keep track of when you’re planning on drinking. Since there is a fine line between a “good” amount of wine and “too much,” it’s important to track when and how much you’re drinking.
- Measure your portions. Many people pour themselves larger portions than a “standard” drink. Measure out 5 ounces (150 mL) per serving to keep alcohol consumption moderate.
- Drink 1–2 glasses of wine occasionally. In addition to measuring the appropriate portion size, you also need to moderate how many glasses of wine you drink at one sitting.
- Cook with wine. If you’re not a fan of drinking wine or don’t want to increase your intake consider cooking with wine. You’ll be able to have the flavor of the wine, the nutritious compounds, but not alcohol.
Part 2 – Drinking the Most Nutritious Wines
- Choose red wine over white. When you’re trying to drink wine to promote better health, choose the type of wine that has the most benefits. Not every type of wine provides the same benefits.
- Go for dry red wine over sweeter wines. Within the group of red wines you have a variety of options from different types of grapes. Some grapes produce wines that have higher antioxidant contents than others.
- Pick up a bottle of pinot noir. One specific type of a drier red wine is pinot noir. Different red wines have been studied for their nutrient content and this particular grape and the wine has been found to be nutrient dense.
- Skip wine spritzers or other wine mixes. Another option you may find at restaurants, cookouts or a bar may be a wine spritzer or a mixed drink made with wine.
Part 3 – Monitoring Alcohol Consumption and Health
- Talk to your doctor. If you’re interested in the benefits that red wine could have on your health, talk to your doctor. It’s not advised to start drinking, even for health reasons, without consulting your physician.
- Limit your total alcohol consumption. There are a variety of health benefits of drinking red wine on occasion. However, just because it’s been shown to be beneficial, doesn’t mean that you should start drinking or drink more regularly.
- Avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Another important thing to remember when drinking red wine (or any alcoholic beverage) is that you should always have a glass of wine with food or after food.
- Always stay hydrated before and after drinking. In addition to monitoring when you drink and how much you drink, you also need to monitor your hydration level. Stay hydrated before and after you drink to minimize any side effects.
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