Does Wine Help You Live Longer?

A glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away — or does it? From the French to the Sardinians, cultures in which people tend to drink wine daily have famously low rates of heart disease and lead longer lives , on average, than Americans do. But does drinking wine actually help you live longer? 

The belief that a daily glass of vino accounts for the health and longevity of those living in wine-centered food cultures goes back to a 1992 paper that called this phenomenon “the French paradox,” pointing to wine as an explanation. Today, however, our understanding of wine and its health effects is more nuanced. There is some evidence that drinking wine protects against certain health conditions, but the evidence that it leads to a longer life is thin, said Adrian Baranchuk, a professor of cardiology at Queen’s University School of Medicine in Ontario. “Studies of alcohol are limited in their design,” he said.

For starters, much of the research on red wine and mortality don’t focus on wine itself. Rather, the research investigates the health effects of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant in wine. These chemicals shield cells from damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals, which are associated with heart disease and cancer risk, and have been proposed as one potential reason for wine’s purportedly positive health effects.

Excerpted from Live Science

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