Can Wine Prevent Cancer? (Slideshow)

Some studies suggest that it can — and it can do a lot of other things for your health, too

Kidney Cancer

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Studies show that drinking a glass or two of wine every day may reduce the risk of kidney cancer. An analysis of 12 studies that included 760,044 men and women studied over a period of 20 years found that moderate drinkers were about 30 percent less likely to develop kidney cancer than abstainers. 

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

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Drinking moderate amounts of wine may reduce the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A review of results from nine international studies revealed that drinking alcohol may reduce the risk by 27 percent. 

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

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Moderate amounts of wine may reduce the risk of Hodgkin’s lymphoma for men and women, and particularly for men. A study in Germany found that the risk was lowered for men by about 53 percent. Alcohol has also been suggested to decrease pain in the lymph nodes, a common symptom of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

Thyroid Cancer

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Drinking moderate amounts of wine may lowersthe risk of developing thyroid cancer, according to a study of more than 490,000 men and women in the U.S.

General Health

Moderate wine drinkers generally may have better health than abstainers or heavy drinkers. A nationwide survey in the U.S. showed that moderate drinkers were hospitalized significantly less. A nine-year study of good health indicators found that moderate alcohol drinkers showed the most favorable health scores. Another study of 10,000 men and women examined at age 23 and again at age 33 revealed that moderate drinkers showed fewer signs of poor general health, long-term illness, and psychological distress as compared to abstainers and heavy drinkers. 

Longer Life

Drinking a glass or two of wine daily may lengthen your life. A Harvard study found that the risk of death from all causes was 21 percent to 28 percent lower in moderate alcohol drinkers than abstainers.

Risk of Diseases

Moderate drinking may reduce the risk of various diseases including duodenal ulcer, gallstones, entric infections, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and diabetes. In fact, nearly three-quarters of teaching hospitals in the U.S. serve alcoholic drinks to their patients. Drinking one to two glasses of wine daily may also prevent other common diseases, including the common cold, intermittent claudication, metabolic syndrome, peripheral artery disease, kidney stones, macular degeneration, pancreatic cancer, Parkinson’s disease, stress and depression, and type B gastritis. 

Heart Disease

Research shows that moderate wine drinking may be beneficial to heart health. Studies suggest a strong relationship between drinking moderate amounts of alcohol and a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, and particularly coronary artery disease. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that drinking alcohol may lower the risk of heart disease by 40 to 60 percent. Moderate drinking is associated with better endothelial function, which contributes to better heart health and lowers the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. A review of studies by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reveals that the risk of coronary heart disease is 20 to 40 percent lower for alcohol drinkers. People who drink beer, wine, or distilled spirits daily have significantly better arterial elasticity as well as better pulse rates, which are strong indicators of heart health and cardiovascular health, than abstainers. Moderate drinkers may also have a lower risk of dying from a heart attack, according to a study which found that alcohol drinkers reduced their risk of death from a heart attack by 32 percent. Another study of 353 male heart attack survivors shows that men who consumed an average of two alcoholic drinks following a heart attack were 59 percent less likely to undergo a second heart attack than abstainers. 

Stroke

Drinking up to two alcoholic drinks a day may reduce the risk of stroke by about half, according to a study by the American Stroke Association as well as a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Research from another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that drinking alcohol increases levels of HDL, also known as good cholesterol, which protects against stroke.

Weight Loss

Even though alcohol contains a significant amount of calories, many studies report weight loss in women who drink moderate amounts of alcohol. While the reason is unclear, it may be because alcohol increases the metabolic rate, causing more calories to be burned.

Diabetes

Moderate wine drinking reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association reports that light-to-moderate alcohol drinkers with diabetes may reduce their risk of heart disease due to an increased level of HDL, or good cholesterol. A study of 8,663 men over 25 years reveals that the risk of type 2 diabetes was significantly lower for moderate drinkers than for abstainers or heavy drinkers. Another study by the University of Padova Medical School in Italy found that drinking alcohol may improve the action of insulin and fatty acid levels.

Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementia

Drinking wine may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia. A study in France found that moderate drinkers have a 75 percent lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease and an 80 percent lower risk for senile dementia. A study of 7,485 people in Australia aged 20 to 64 found that moderate drinkers performed better than abstainers on all measures of cognitive ability. And according to research funded by the National Institutes of Health, moderate drinking among older women may improve memory. The reason for this may be because alcohol increases blood flow to the brain.

Arthritis

A glass of wine has been shown to reduce the risk of developing arthritic conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and spondyloarthropathy, according to a study.

Enlarged Prostate

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Men who drink wine moderately may reduce their risk of an enlarged prostate. According to a study of 29,386 men aged 40 to 75 over a period of eight years, those who drank up to 3.3 drinks a day saw a 41 percent decrease in their risk for enlarged prostate.

Osteoporosis

Drinking a glass or two of wine every day may decrease the risk for osteoporosis. Research from 33 studies found that drinking alcohol may increase neck bone density, reduce the risk of hip fracture, and reduce bone loss over time, compared with those who abstain from alcohol. 

Gallbladder Disease

Women who drink moderately may reduce their risk for gallbladder disease. A study of 1,290,413 women in the United Kingdom conducted over a period of six years found that drinking alcohol decreased the risk of developing gallstone disease. Women in the study who drank 15 or more units (one unit equaling 10 milliliters of absolute alcohol) of alcohol per week had a 41 percent reduced risk compared with women who drank one to two units per week.