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Red Wine and Cancer

Does Red Wine Prevent Cancer?


Updated July 09, 2009

Red Wine and Cancer
Photo by Carlos Zaragoza
Could the occasional glass of wine prevent cancer? Some experts say yes, especially red wines. Red wines are rich in phytochemicals, which act as antioxidants, thus possibly preventing cancer.

Red vs White Wine
Red wine is thought have more more anti-cancer properties because the skin of the grape is maintained during the wine making process. When white wine is being made, the skin is removed before the grapes are crushed. The skin of grapes contains antioxidant rich phytochemicals, the part of the grape thought to reduce your cancer risk.

Isn't is the same as eating a bunch of grapes?
Yes and no. While the skins and seeds of the grape are where the phytochemicals are contained, it is the alcohol in the fermentation process that actually breaks down the phytochemicals.

Does this mean I should drink large amounts of red wine?
Absolutely not. Studies concerning the effects of red wine against cancer are still in the preliminary stages. In fact, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is linked to many types of cancer. Moderation is key to reaping the benefits of consuming wine.

Experts recommend 2 servings a day for men and one serving a day for women of red wine for health benefits. Each serving is 4 ounces.

If you do not currently drink alcohol or are on medication, please talk to your doctor about the benefits of red wine in your diet. You should never begin drinking alcohol for medicinal purposed without talking to your doctor first.

All Red Wines are Not Created Equal
Many red wines are available and some are more phytochemical rich than others. A study conducted at UC Davis found cabernet sauvignon to be the richest in flavanoids. petit syrah and pinot noir were also high in flavanoids.


Yale New Haven Hospital. Nutrition Advisor; A glass of red wine a days keeps the doctor away. March 10, 2005.

National Cancer Institute. Red Wine and Cancer Prevention Fact Sheet. November 27, 2002.

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