A Glass of Wine a Day Helps Keep The Doctor Away?

Local Dietitian Weighs In On The Health Benefits of Wine

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a familiar adage that dances in our heads especially during flu and cold season. But researchers are finding evidence that might just offer a slight modification to that maxim: A glass of wine a day to keep the doctor away. Some researchers advocate that antioxidants found in wine and beer may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and protecting against artery damage. But some in the health field aren’t as quick to jump on the bandwagon. Either way, there are some tips to get as much health benefits from a glass of wine as you can.

“If you are like many Americans and enjoy an adult beverage now and then, my recommendation would be to choose wine over beer,” says North Kansas City Hospital Outpatient and Bariatric Dietitian Jackie Roth, MS, RD, LD. “Wine has fewer calories and carbohydrates than beer, so it has less impact on your blood sugar. Most beers also contain gluten. If you are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease, beer would not be recommended,”

According to Roth, red wine is a better alternative than white wine. For those who don’t like alcohol, grape juice isn’t the same as wine in this case.

“Red wine has more antioxidant properties than white wine,” Roth says. “In general, the sweeter the wine the more sugar it contains; something to keep in mind for weight loss and blood sugar control. Juice is often packed with added sugar and can have a negative impact on weight and overall health, so it should be consumed in moderation. Grape juice would not have the same potential benefits of wine.”

For those considering drinking a glass a day, other health conditions should be considered before partaking.

“Anyone who chooses to drink alcohol needs to consume it in moderation,” Roth says. “If you are on medications or have medical conditions, talk with your doctor before you choose to drink. If you have diabetes, be especially careful with drinking alcohol and only drink if your blood sugars are under control and you have eaten.  Intake should also be limited if you have gout, liver disease, kidney disease or pancreatitis.”

Finally, Roth offers a few tips for those who do choose to drink: “Talk to your doctor first. Choose drinks wisely; limit intake of sugary, fruity drinks. Don’t drink too much. Stay hydrated,” she says.