Regular moderate wine consumption has been associated with certain potential health benefits for adults, particularly those aged over 40 years. Drinking more than what is recommended in guidelines will not provide more benefits, however, only harms. The risk of harm increases with each drink above moderation.
Drinking wine should be avoided by young and underage individuals, those with a history of alcohol dependence, with alcohol-related or other mental health and physical conditions, during pregnancy and when breastfeeding, and when taking certain medications.
Both the amount consumed and the drinking pattern is also relevant when considering the health aspects of alcoholic beverages.
It is better to drink wine moderately and regularly with the meals than to drink the same amount on a single occasion, and without any food.
Many research reports show that even though the European Mediterranean region has high alcohol consumption per capita, it is the region where the observed drinking patterns pose fewer health risks; for example, alcoholic beverages such as wine are primarily consumed at home with meals, rather than in bars/restaurants and or public places without food.
Interestingly, harmful drinking patterns are considerably less common in predominantly wine producing countries, where wine is consumed, almost exclusively, with meals. The volume of wine consumed on each drinking occasion also tends to be much lower than in the Nordic countries, for example, or in the UK and Ireland where higher levels of binge drinking have been observed.
In parallel, growing evidence indicates that the Mediterranean diet is beneficial to human health. A Mediterranean diet is characterised by a high consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, grains and minimally-processed cereals, and olive oil, moderately high consumption of fish, moderate-to-low consumption of dairy products, low consumption of red meats and meat products, and regular but moderate consumption of wine.
Traditionally, most European cultures consider wine a refined choice, a view which is consistent with moderate consumption. While wine consumption in the EU has fallen considerably over the past 20 years, there has been a gradual rise in the abuse and misuse of alcoholic beverages among young adults, particularly in the form of "binge drinking".
This trend highlights the need to promote responsibility and moderation when consuming alcoholic beverages.
Governments have set low risk drinking guidelines, where any potential harm to human health is minimized. Some guidelines include recommendations to drink alcoholic beverages with food, to alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and ‘to pace’ drinking.
Traditionally, most European cultures consider wine a refined choice, a view which is consistent with moderate consumption, nonetheless enormous cross-cultural variations in the way Europeans drink and behave when they drink do exist...