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Wine May Reduce Your Risk of This Health Condition as You Age, New Study Says

Salute! Beer and champagne may also provide some solution to the growing problem of cataracts.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan

Cheers to trying new reds! We've all heard that red wine has been demonstrated to show some benefit when it comes to reducing heart attack risk. But today, researchers are touting a new reason to toast to your health with a little vino.

A new U.K. study—and the largest-ever of its kind—has found that the right amount of red wine may help prevent cataracts—an eye condition that affects the majority of people and is growing in prevalence.

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Your eyes aren't fooling you: The study, which was published today in the journal Ophthalmology (the official medical publication of The American Academy of Ophthalmology), analyzed the reported lifestyle habits of 490,000 participants. The researchers concluded that red wine—thanks to its particular antioxidants—was shown to deliver the strongest protective effect with 14% lower need for cataract surgery.

White wine and champagne drinkers may also see 10% lower risk, while fans of beer and spirits saw a drop in risk by 13% and 14% lower risk.

wine glasses
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Lead author Sharon Chua, M.D., concluded that, over time, the eyes see damage due to "oxidative stress during aging." She continued: "The fact that our findings were particularly evident in wine drinkers may suggest a protective role of polyphenol antioxidants, which are especially abundant in red wine."

The academy describes cataracts as a condition wherein proteins in the lens of the eye break down, which causes light to refract and make our vision less clear.

Research suggests cataracts begin to occur around age 40. The rate of cataracts occurrence varies between races and ethnicities, but there are some populations for whom the National Institute of Health projects it will increase two times (for Caucasians) to five times (for Hispanic Americans) in the next 30 years.

That said, the study also found that daily or near-daily beer and spirits sippers saw no reduction in cataracts risk. Overall, regardless of the beverage type, people who drank alcohol daily or close to it had about a 6% higher risk of cataract surgery compared to moderate drinkers.

Looking for the greatest imbibing benefit? Check out the healthiest bottle of wine you can drink, according to dietitians.

Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at <em>Eat This, Not That!</em>, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more