Red Wine and Blood Pressure
It is well known that alcohol increases blood pressure. But research indicates that red wine has some health benefits. Interestingly, if you suffer from high blood pressure, red wine seems to counter some of the damage done by hypertension.
The French Paradox is well known although a scientific explanation is still missing. The French have a relatively low rate of coronary heart diseases despite eating a lot of saturated fats. High consumption of saturated fats increases the risk of coronary heart diseases. The most common explanation for the French Paradox has been the high consumption of red wine in France. Research has indicated that red wine contains something that makes it "heart healthy", protecting against artery damage. Exactly what it is in red wine that makes it healthy has not been scientifically proven. But most researchers think it is the resveratrol in red wine which increases levels of good cholesterol and slows production of bad cholesterol.
Note that since red wine and white wine are produced in different ways, white wine does not contain as much resveratrol as red wine. And white wine does not have the health benefits that red wine has. Resveratrol is found in the skin of the grapes and protects it against fungi and bacteria.
The British Heart Foundation is well aware of the potential health benefits of red wine. A spokesman told BBC: "There's healthy stuff in red wine, and small amounts of alcohol are beneficial generally." But this was followed by the warning: "However, despite these benefits we would not advise non-drinkers to take up drinking." Needless to say, drinking too much alcohol will create a lot of health problems, increased blood pressure is just one of them. While the French have a lower incidence of coronary artery disease they also have one of the highest rates of cirrhosis of the liver in the world. The latter is often caused by excessive consumption of alcohol. Exactly what is a healthy quantity of red wine has not been scientifically proven. But most doctors believe that one glass of red wine a day is safe to drink. The amount depends on your body size, larger men can drink two glasses. Of course, it is a good idea not to drink wine every day, three of four times a week should keep you on the safe side.
To summarize, red wine has some health benefits but does not directly lower your blood pressure. But it helps to counter the damage done by hypertension and seems to have some other health benefits as well. But only in small quantities. Drinking too much red wine will increase your blood pressure and create other health issues.
Interestingly, preliminary studies suggest that red wine also contains some anti-aging anti-oxidants that prevent cell damage from free radicals. Companies have started to create red wine pills, generally resveratrol supplements, which are supposed to give you the health benefits of red wine without having to drink red wine and risking the potential damage done by excessive alcohol. The supplements often contain the same amount of resveratrol as 200 glasses of red wine. But it is too early to say if the increased amount of resveratrol also means increased health benefits compared with drinking a glass a red wine.
You can learn more about red wine here: Is Red Wine Healthy?