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Are There Benefits to Drinking Wine for Seniors? Here’s What the Experts Say

wine glasses being toasted

One of the most frequently debated health topics is the merits of a glass of red wine. While you may have heard that wine contains certain compounds that boost your heart health and prevent disease, the health risks associated with alcohol should also never be underestimated.

This dilemma can be especially confusing for seniors — some experts say that red wine in moderation has health benefits for older adults, and others say that seniors should avoid alcohol altogether.

Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to the question of whether seniors can benefit from drinking wine. Studies find mixed results, and health experts have differing opinions.

Drinking alcohol is a personal choice, so what’s most important is that you do your research and make an informed decision based on what you and your doctor think is best for your health.

Here is everything you need to know about the possible health benefits of wine for seniors.

What is the correlation between health and wine consumption?

One reason so many people are curious about the health benefits of wine is because of the reported correlation between moderate wine drinking and better heart health.

Since the 1980s, numerous studies have reported a link between red wine consumption and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.

It’s important to note that researchers do not fully understand this connection. Two factors can be correlated with one another in a study, but this does not mean that one causes the other.

In this case, a connection between red wine and heart health doesn’t necessarily indicate that drinking wine will strengthen your heart. Perhaps the people who choose to drink red wine over other alcohol beverages also tend to make healthier lifestyle choices, which is why they have better cardiovascular health.

Antioxidants, polyphenols, and resveratrol

Although it’s unclear whether drinking wine can actually provide health benefits, red wine does contain some ingredients that might reduce your risk of disease.

Wine contains a group of antioxidants called polyphenols, which may play a role in protecting the blood vessels in your heart. The main polyphenol in red wine is resveratrol, a compound that may prevent blood vessel damage and reduce your LDL cholesterol levels.

Different studies have shown different results of how significantly resveratrol may affect your health, so more research is needed before experts can confidently say whether the compound is healthy or not. However, resveratrol may be associated with reduced inflammation and a lower risk of blood clots.

Heart problems become more common with age, so the possible protective effects of wine and resveratrol could be especially valuable as you get older. While drinking a glass of wine per day isn’t enough on its own to keep you in good health as you enter your 60s and 70s, it could be one component of an overall healthy lifestyle.

Seniors process alcohol differently

While seniors may gain the most health benefits from moderate wine drinking, they also may face the worst risks.

As you get older, your body’s ability to metabolize alcohol decreases. This likely happens because your body retains less water with age, so it takes longer for the alcohol to leave your system.

As such, you might notice that you feel the effects of wine more strongly as you age, and this may also mean that the harmful effects of alcohol are more severe.

Moderation is key

Different experts may give you different opinions on the benefits of wine, but all of them will recommend drinking in moderation if you choose to consume alcohol. If you don’t currently drink, you should not start drinking just for the potential health benefits. If you enjoy wine, though, most doctors say that one glass per day will not cause any adverse health effects.

You can incorporate a healthy amount of wine into your diet by carefully measuring out your drinks. For wine, one drink is considered 5 oz or 150 ml, which may be a smaller serving than you’d expect.

As always, talking to your doctor about your unique health needs is critical. Your healthcare providers are familiar with your lifestyle and your underlying health conditions, so they can offer a personalized recommendation on whether you should drink wine.

The bottom line

Many older adults wonder whether drinking wine is good for their health. Research suggests that red wine may have some health benefits, but the research isn’t entirely clear. If you choose to drink wine, you can prevent its negative effects on your health by drinking in moderation and consulting your doctor.

The Oaks at Denville’s high-quality health services for seniors are delivered with attention to the individual and in a way that gives residents the freedom to enjoy life as they choose. Contact us to find out more.