Is Red Wine the Absolute Best Thing You Can Drink?


Illustration credit: Jen Fox

Is red wine a cure-all? The notion could easily be dismissed as fantasy if not for numerous studies trumpeting its benefits. The latest: a study to be published in the journal “Cancer Cell International,” which suggests that red wine slows the spread of lung cancer. Tell us more of what we want to hear!

Co-author Evangelia Litsa Tsiani told us that her team examined the effects of red and white wine on six culture plates, which each contained millions of human lung cancer cells. The experiment was duplicated four times to ensure the results were not a fluke.

Tsiani said that the plates treated with wine demonstrated “60 percent inhibition” of the cells. Translation: the wine dramatically reduced cancer cell growth. The effect was much more pronounced with red wine than white (pass the Bordeaux).

What else might red wine be good for? Pour yourself a glass and read on:

1. Red wine may promote heart health.

Studies suggest that a compound in red wine called resveratrol may function as an antioxidant, lowering cholesterol levels and staving off blockage in heart vessels. The result: a lower risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.

2. It may reduce men’s risk of developing prostate cancer.

Research published in “Harvard Men’s Health Watch” found that men who drank an average of four to seven glasses of red wine a week were half as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer as those who didn’t drink the stuff at all.

3. Drinking a bit of red wine on the regular could keep the blues away.

Last year, a study published in the journal “BMC Medicine” found that people over 55 who drank a glass of alcohol a day were less likely to be depressed than those who drank more or less. One possible explanation: resveratrol may have neuroprotective properties.

4. Even if you eat a ton, red wine might add years to your life.

A 2006 Harvard study found that mice on a high-calorie diet lived longer when they consumed resveratrol. (This one’s like having your cake and eating it, too.)

5. It goes so well with your food. 

The Mediterranean Diet, which experts say is one of the healthiest out there, is all about drinking a glass of red wine with dinner every night.

We can’t say yet if red wine is a magic bullet for health, but these studies are certainly encouraging. We’re cheers-ing to you tonight, science.