Red Wine: Is it good for you or not?

Red Wine: Love it or hate it you can’t ignore this research


  • Maybe your red wine coping mechanism isn’t so bad after all
  • There are real scientific reasons to have a guilt free tipple
  • If wine isn’t for you… what about chocolate instead?

We all need a bit of cheering up at the moment don’t we?

Maybe you are feeling a tad guilty about reaching for the alcohol bottles to help you cope with the worry and concern over this pandemic – I know Lara is certainly keeping an eye on me!

But a major study published in the European Journal of Nutrition1 has confirmed that a moderate daily intake of red wine is good for your heart and blood vessels.

Red wine is good for you – Hurrah!

You would have thought that one of the media outlets would have picked up on this fantastic news… but it seems not.

The research was a review of 85 human and animal studies and suggested that compounds called polyphenols are what makes the difference.

In particular one which is abundant in red wine called Resveratrol that seemed to “damp down” the inflammatory process in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

I was intrigued to see that the team leading the research were quoted as saying that they believed that drinking red wine could even reduce the harmful effects of smoking – which seems just a little too far fetched even for an alcohol optimist like me!

One thing is for certain though the good news about red wine just keeps on coming, and I thought it might be interesting to dig into the various journals and scientific papers to see what claims had been made…

…If, like me, you would like a good reason to enjoy the occasional glass of fermented fruit read on (but if the thought of any alcohol just makes you angry please skip to the end for more good news about chocolate instead!)

The good letter wine facts…

First, a topical discussion between a few of us on e-mail about whether or not red wine affected the coronavirus prompted me to look at whether red wine had any benefits in that respect, especially as the new research seemed to point at respiratory effects.

Well, unfortunately the research isn’t conclusive on that one but a very recent study2 does highlight the possibility that dietary intake of fats and Resveratrol can reduce the impact of coronavirus conditions such as SARS.

More research is called for, and I have volunteered for my own trials to be conducted on a evening by evening basis until this is all over!

Now let’s consider a topic that I have been drawn to recently which was the maintenance of the gut microflora, or human biome as some call it.

Then another study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology3 this year actually says that regular consumption of red wine alone causes a beneficial change in gut flora with associated health benefits as a result.

These health benefits include an improvement of cholesterol metabolism and reduced adiposity, which is the laying down of body fat.

But I don’t think even I could claim that red wine is a slimming aid!

Finally, another topic of recent weeks was dementia and Alzheimer’s and it seems red wine is helpful here too.

A published study in the Journal of Nutritional Neuroscience4 highlights the beneficial impact of red wine consumption on short-term and long-term memory loss…

…albeit the study was done in mice, however, it certainly cheered Dad’s day up when I shared the good news with him!

Now, whilst all this is very new research and more work needs to be done I am happy to share this with you – drink moderately and safely and enjoy it!

I promised good news about chocolate… here it is

Good quality dark chocolate is a treat and a luxury.

However, a preliminary research paper just published indicates that daily consumption could be a vital aid for those who suffer from peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

This condition affects blood flow into the legs causing pain and fatigue when trying to walk, and is becoming more common in older people.

The study5 used a cocoa rich drink (but essentially dark chocolate) and tested its effects on patients walking on a treadmill, and results were encouraging…

…so next time you get a chance to talk to your GP point them towards some of these new studies and see if they will allow you a little treat.

There we have it then, red wine and chocolate come up trumps – what’s not to be cheerful about that!



(1)Weaver, S. R., Rendeiro, C., McGettrick, H. M., Philp, A., & Lucas, S. J. (2020). Fine wine or sour grapes? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the impact of red wine polyphenols on vascular health. European Journal of Nutrition, 1-28.

(2)Le Roy, C. I., Wells, P. M., Si, J., Raes, J., Bell, J. T., & Spector, T. D. (2020). Red wine consumption associated with increased gut microbiota α-diversity in 3 independent cohorts. Gastroenterology, 158(1), 270-272.

(3)Horne, J. R., & Vohl, M. C. (2020). Biological plausibility for interactions between dietary fat, resveratrol, ACE2 and SARS-CoV illness severity.

(4) De Paula, G. C., de Oliveira, J., Engel, D. F., Lopes, S. C., Moreira, E. L. G., Figueiredo, C. P., … & Fabro de Bem, A. (2020). Red wine consumption mitigates the cognitive impairments in low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout (LDLr−/−) mice. Nutritional Neuroscience, 1-11.

(5) Matsui, R., & Hamburg, N. M. (2020). Eating Chocolate to Improve Muscle Health and Walking Ability in Patients With Peripheral Artery Disease.