How to Drink Wine for Health

Three Parts:Incorporating Wine into Your DietDrinking the Most Nutritious WinesMonitoring Alcohol Consumption and Health

You might have heard that having the occasional glass of red wine may help improve your heart and overall health. In fact, some studies have shown significant and promising effects in regards to heart health. The antioxidants in red wine (both flavonoids and resveratrol) have been proven to raise HDL (the "good cholesterol"), reduce the formation of blood clots, reduce LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) and decrease blood pressure.[1] Although there are benefits to the occasional glass of red wine, health professionals don't all agree on whether or not these benefits are worth drinking alcohol more regularly in or larger quantities. To incorporate wine into your diet, only drink occasionally and in moderation. This will help provide the health benefits of red wine, but not cause any adverse side effects.

Part 1
Incorporating Wine into Your Diet

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    Keep track of when you're planning on drinking. Since there is a fine line between a "good" amount of wine and "too much," it's important to track when and how much you're drinking.
    • Most health professionals note there are some health benefits to wine consumption. However, if you drink too much, the negative side effects outweigh any positive results.
    • Keep track of how much you're drinking and how often. Consider making a note in a food journal or tracking in an app on your smart phone.
    • For example, if you're considering having a glass of wine with dinner, but know you're going out for happy hour at work the next day, you may want to skip your wine and save it for happy hour instead.
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    Measure your portions. Although there are plenty of studies that support the occasional consumption of wine, it needs to be in moderation. Those same studies note that larger quantities of wine have negative effects.
    • Measure your portions of whatever type of alcohol you drink - even red wine. It's essential that you stick to the smaller, appropriate portion sizes to reap the health benefits (without negative consequences).
    • When you have a glass of red wine, measure out 5 oz per serving. Use a liquid measuring cup that lists fluid ounces to measure accurately.[2]
    • If you want to have more than one glass, consider pouring yourself only a 3 oz serving initially and another 3 oz serving so you're not over doing it.
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    Drink 1-2 glasses of wine occasionally. In addition to measuring the appropriate portion size, you also need to moderate how many glasses of wine you drink at one sitting.
    • Health professionals recommend that you stick to a certain amount of total alcohol daily to prevent any negative side effects from consumption.
    • Women should have a maximum of 1 glass daily and men shouldn't consume more than 2 glasses daily.[3] 1 glass should be measured at 5 oz total.
    • You do not experience any additional health benefits by drinking more than 1-2 glasses of red wine per sitting.
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    Cook with wine. If you're not a fan of drinking wine or don't want to increase your intake consider cooking with wine. You'll be able to have the flavor of the wine, the nutritious compounds, but not alcohol.[4]
    • Red wine is a great ingredient to cook with. It can really boost the flavor of many foods. It's a great alternative to drinking wine on a more regular basis.
    • When you cook with red wine, you generally allow the wine to simmer a bit. This causes the alcohol content of the wine to burn off, but leaves all the flavor and antioxidant content of the wine.
    • Try using red wine in a gravy or sauce to serve over a steak or pork chop. Also use red wine to deglaze the pot when making a stew or a soup to boost the flavor.

Part 2
Drinking the Most Nutritious Wines

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    Choose red wine over white. When you're trying to drink wine to promote better health, choose the type of wine that has the most benefits. Not every type of wine provides the same benefits.[5]
    • When you compare red and white wine, they are very similar on some fronts - like total calories or carbohydrates.
    • However, when you compare the amount of the antioxidants and reservatrol, red wine out shines white wine considerably. Although white wine does taste great, stick to red for your best bet.
    • Red wine has 7 mcg of lutein and zeaxanthin, 8.4 mg of choline, and significantly higher levels of reservatrol.
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    Go for dry red wine over sweeter wines. Within the group of red wines you have a variety of options from different types of grapes. Some grapes produce wines that have higher antioxidant contents than others.
    • In general, it's been discovered that dryer red wines have significantly higher levels of antioxidants (like reservatrol) compared to sweeter red wines.[6]
    • Sweeter wines have a slightly higher sugar content which edges out the antioxidants that are found naturally in wine.
    • Dry red wines to try include: pinot noir, merlot or cabernet. Wines like dessert wines, port or zinfandels are sweeter and have a high sugar content.
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    Pick up a bottle of pinot noir. One specific type of a drier red wine is pinot noir. Different red wines have been studied for their nutrient content and this particular grape and the wine has been found to be nutrient dense.
    • Not only is it a tasty type of wine, but it also has been found to have the highest concentrations of reservatrol.[7]
    • The reason that pinot noir is especially high in reservatrol is due to the cool, rainy climates it's typically grown in.
    • In addition, some scientists say to get pinot noir from a boutique or small winery instead of a larger scale winery. These small batch pinot noirs were shown to have higher levels of antioxidants due to the minimal processing involved in their production.
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    Skip wine spritzers or other wine mixes. Another option you may find at restaurants, cookouts or a bar may be a wine spritzer or a mixed drink made with wine. These are beverages that you should skip as they do not provide as many health benefits.
    • Wine spritzers are a mixed drink that contains wine and a sweetened carbonated drink like club soda, seltzer water or soda.
    • These are higher in calories, sugar and since the wine is diluted, the amount of antioxidants you're consuming is lower.
    • Wine mixes may be something like a sangria. This is wine mixed with liquor, fruit juice and occasionally a carbonated beverage like club soda or seltzer water.
    • Sangria especially, has a higher alcohol content, but the wine itself is diluted so you're missing out on the beneficial nutrients of the wine but are consuming a larger quantity of alcohol.

Part 3
Monitoring Alcohol Consumption and Health

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    Talk to your doctor. If you're interested in the benefits that red wine could have on your health, talk to your doctor. It's not advised to start drinking, even for health reasons, without consulting your physician.
    • Call your doctor or make an appointment to discuss your overall health and whether or not drinking red wine more often would be beneficial to you.
    • Talk to your doctor about his recommendation on the quantity of alcohol for you. The standard 1-2 glasses may be appropriate, however with some health conditions or prescription medications, it may be recommended to drink less than that.
    • Also talk to your doctor about what health aspect you want to improve. If you're looking to improve cardiac health, ask about other ways you can improve your health and support your heart.
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    Limit your total alcohol consumption. There are a variety of health benefits of drinking red wine on occasion. However, just because it's been shown to be beneficial, doesn't mean that you should start drinking or drink more regularly.[8]
    • Health professionals do not recommend that you increase your alcohol consumption - especially beyond the recommended limit of 1-2 glasses a day.
    • If you drink frequently or drink larger quantities of alcohol, there can be significant negative side effects.
    • Heavy drinking is associated with: increased risk of breast cancer, heart damage, stroke, cirrhosis and pancreatitis. In addition, heavier drinking can lead to a weakened immune system.[9]
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    Avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Another important thing to remember when drinking red wine (or any alcoholic beverage) is that you should always have a glass of wine with food or after food.
    • It's not recommended to drink any type of alcohol on an empty stomach. When you do not have food in your stomach, alcohol travels straight to the blood stream which makes you intoxicated much more quickly.[10]
    • As your blood alcohol level rises, you lose more control. It affects your brain quickly which will affect decision making and bodily functions. This usually happens within one minute of consuming alcohol.
    • Try to have a small snack or meal before drinking. Or, have a glass of wine with your meal or appetizer.
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    Always stay hydrated before and after drinking. In addition to monitoring when you drink and how much you drink, you also need to monitor your hydration level. Stay hydrated before and after you drink to minimize any side effects.
    • Aim to drink at least 64 oz of hydrating fluids throughout your entire day. On days you play on having alcohol, make sure you focus on getting in all of your fluids.[11]
    • It's also recommended that for every glass or serving of alcohol you consume, that you consume an extra 8 oz of water or other hydrating beverage.
    • You can drink items like: water, flavored water, decaf coffee and tea or sparkling water. All will keep you hydrated.


  • Although studies have shown that the occasional glass of wine may be beneficial to your health, always consult with your doctor before adding alcohol to your diet to help improve your health.
  • Always keep your alcohol consumption in moderation. There is no benefit to drinking excessively. In fact it can be harmful to your body.

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Categories: Nutrition and Lifestyle Eating