An abundance of evidence from the past 20 years makes it clear that red wine, in moderation, could be considered a liquid food cure. The main factors responsible are the phytonutrients (plant-based compounds) that are floating invisibly within red wine. Long noted for empowering the heart, a new study has found that red wine could improve lung function as well.
Researchers from the Netherlands assessed the impact of wine on the lungs and, in particular, resveratrol. This natural polyphenol is found in great quantities within red wine. They also examined any genetic factors or mechanisms by which resveratrol might be absorbed by the body — and whether the compound could help extend one’s life.
(So…why the fuss over resveratrol? See why here.)
The researchers report that pure resveratrol intake was associated with higher lung volumes. They also found (which goes against the grain a bit) that white wine and not red wine is linked to a lower risk of airway obstruction. Genetic factors had nothing to do with it. It was the wine itself playing the direct role.
There have been a few other studies in the past that found a positive effect of wine on lung function. It was always unclear whether it was resveratrol itself that was the key factor in this, that maybe other compounds were present in wine that could be responsible.
Whatever the case, based on many scientific studies, moderate wine intake appears to have a favorable effect on your lungs. The doses of resveratrol seen in these studies are at levels that could be expected from moderate wine consumption.
Light-to-moderate drinking is between two and seven drinks a week. Alcohol, and especially wine, may help the heart in certain ways by increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, reducing the risk of blood clots, lowering inflammation, and boosting antioxidant powers.
It is never recommended that you start drinking or drink more often to attain benefits from alcohol. That is because there is a fine line between “healthy” drinking and “risky” drinking. For your lungs, there are other steps to take to boost function. The first is to always stop smoking if you do happen to smoke. Another is to get daily exercise. And another is to keep a very balanced, healthy diet full of whole foods that might deliver your lungs the nutrients they need to strengthen.