Red Wine and Heart Health

A glass of wine is equivalent to one hour at the gym!? Not so fast.


Results from a 12-week  research study carried out by Jason Dyck and his team at the University of Alberta in Canada has some of us clinking our happy hour wine glasses in celebration. This study demonstrated that a natural compound found in red wine improves physical performance, heart function, and muscle strength that would be equivalent to the benefits we get from working out at the gym for an hour.

It is important to note that these results are geared towards those who are unable to exercise, or who have a limited ability to exercise. “I think resveratrol could help patient populations who want to exercise but are physically incapable. Resveratrol could mimic exercise for them or improve the benefits of the modest amount of exercise that they can do,” says Dyck. “It is very satisfying to progress from basic research in a lab to testing in people, in a short period of time.”

While this study is promising, here are some key things to consider: This study was done in rats and not humans.  Also, red wine was not provided to the rats, but rather a diet with the supplement form of resveratrol. The results from this study show that the 2 groups of rats that were compared were exercising, but there was a greater benefit seen in the group consuming the resveratrol.

So before you reach for the bottle opener, remember that drinking too much alcohol can increase our risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.  We must also remember that a 5oz glass of wine has about 120 calories, and that drinking too much could cause us to gain weight. This is an important fact to consider when on a weight loss program.

So what is resveratrol and where can I find it? Resveratrol is an antioxidant found not only in red wine, but also in blueberries, peanuts, red and purple grapes, and cranberries. Variety is the spice of life, so choose these healthful foods in moderation. Thinking of taking a resveratrol supplement? Foods contain a lot more compounds and nutrients than we currently know, and eating whole foods is always recommended over a supplement.

What do I do now?


  • If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation and enjoy!
  • Do not replace your daily workouts with a glass of red wine
  • Physical activity provides not only a plethora of physical benefits, but has also been shown to improve mental health and happiness