Is Red Wine Good for Your Heart? How It Might Cause High Blood Pressure

When it comes to reducing high blood pressure, what you eat matters. But all calories can help or hurt your heart regardless of where they come from. Drinks can also make a difference — especially if it involves alcohol.

You’ve probably heard that red wine is good for you. However, its benefits may have been exaggerated — or its potential harms were left out of the discussion.

Here’s the truth about red wine, it’s possible health benefits, and how you can make it part of your heart-healthy lifestyle.

Does red wine have health benefits?

Red wine

Red wine | Plateresca/iStock/Getty Images

You’ve seen the studies (or the reports summarizing the “claims” of those studies). People who drink red wine are healthier! It’s good for your heart! It will make you live longer!

Is it true? Is red wine drinkable magic?

Nope!

Technically, it does contain antioxidants and another ingredient that might be good for your heart. But this does not mean more wine equals more health benefits.

Past research has suggested that people who drink red wine regularly are healthier overall than people who do not. You have to approach these conclusions with caution.

Some experts are wary of research studies like this. It’s possible that people who drink red wine are healthier because of other healthy lifestyle habits. It might not be wine alone that’s lowering their high blood pressure or heart disease risk.

Take the Mediterranean diet as an example: It says it’s OK to drink red wine. But people who traditionally follow this way of eating also consume fish, nuts, and other heart-healthy foods. And they’re typically physically active.

Doctors also don’t want people to think that it’s healthy to start drinking red wine if you don’t already — especially if alcohol misuse runs in your family. If you don’t drink, starting won’t boost your health. Chances are, it will have the opposite effect.

How alcohol causes high blood pressure

A drink or two per day probably won’t hurt you. It’s the consistent, excess intake of wine, beer, and hard liquor that can get you into trouble health-wise.

Unfortunately, too much alcohol can be bad for your heart — and other parts of your body. It can cause a health condition that stretches and weakens your heart, affecting the muscle’s ability to pump blood effectively through your body.

This and other factors — such as the excess calories in alcoholic beverages — can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure.

Can you drink alcohol if you have high blood pressure?

Red and white wine

Red and white wine | TSchon/iStock/Getty Images

As long as your doctors gives you the OK, it is technically safe to drink alcohol if you have high blood pressure.

However, this does not mean you’re free to drink as much as you want. Well, you are — unless you don’t mind possibly making your blood pressure and other health markers worse.

Experts recommend limiting your alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women. This is the general recommendation for everyone, but is especially important if you have high blood pressure.

What to drink if you have high blood pressure

Lowfat milk, pomegranate¬†juice, and certain types of tea might actually be good for your heart¬†and blood pressure. Of course, staying hydrated is the most important goal to set for yourself — water is and will always be your best option when choosing a drink.

Avoid drinks high in sugar and caffeine (a little bit won’t hurt). And do your best to limit your alcohol intake from day to day.