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Major Effects Drinking Wine Has on Your Health, Says Science

You may be getting more than you bargained for with this supposedly healthy drink.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Whether you love drinking a glass of chardonnay with your midday meal or can't make your famous pasta sauce without adding a pour of pinot, countless people consider wine an essential component of many a meal. However, while you may imagine you're sipping your way to better health with every glass, the benefits you reap from your wine intake have a lot to do with how much you consume, your biology, and other possible risk factors you may not even realize.

Before you pour another glass, read on to discover the major effects drinking wine has on your health, according to science. And for some dietary additions virtually everyone could benefit from, check out The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

1

Wine may increase your risk of oral cancer.

pouring red wine
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While many people know that alcoholic beverages like wine can have an effect on their liver health, it's not as commonly known that those drinks can have a profound effect on a person's risk of cancer north of the neck, too.

In fact, a 2004 study published in Oral Oncology found that, similar to other alcoholic beverages, wine was associated with an increased risk of both oral cancer and cancer of the pharynx, with risk increasing along with total alcohol consumption.

Want to better protect your health? Start by ditching the 50 Worst Foods to Never Eat if Cancer Runs in Your Family.

2

Wine may increase your total cancer risk.

white wine
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If you want to reduce your lifetime cancer risk, you may want to scale back your wine consumption starting now.

According to a 2019 research article published in BMC Public Health, drinking a bottle of wine a week increases a person's lifetime cancer risk as much as smoking five cigarettes for men and 10 cigarettes for women.

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3

Wine may reduce your risk of liver scarring.

wine
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While alcohol has a reputation for being harmful to your liver, wine may have less of a detrimental effect on this vital organ than other types of booze—in fact, it may actually have a protective effect.

According to a 2018 study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, among patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, those who drank wine in a non-binge-type fashion were less likely to have liver scarring than those who drank other types of alcohol or no alcohol.

READ MORE: Drinking Habits That May Cause Liver Damage, According to Science

4

Wine may reduce your heart disease risk.

wine
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You've likely heard that wine is good for your heart, and research suggests that's true—when consumed in moderation, at least.

A 2001 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine found that the polyphenol resveratrol in red wine may help protect against heart disease. However, other studies have found that high rates of alcohol consumption—but not specifically wine consumption—can increase a person's risk of various types of cardiovascular disease, so it's important to keep those drinks to a minimum.

For more ways to protect your cardiovascular health, start by cutting The 50 Foods That Have Been Linked to Heart Disease.

5

Wine may reduce your risk of tooth decay.

wine
Kelsey Knight/ Unsplash

If you want to keep those pearly whites healthy, making wine part of your regular routine is a good place to start. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry found that the caffeic and p-coumaric acids found in red wine made it more difficult for the bacteria that form dental plaque and cavities to adhere to teeth and gums, lessening the likelihood that they will cause decay and disease over time.

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more