Weekly Wellness: Red or White? Which is better?

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COLUMBIA - One question that I’m consistently asked by adult clients is: what is the healthiest alcoholic option when it comes to wine? Red or white? Great question! And there’s a lot of research out there to cite, so let’s tackle it as thoroughly as possible.

There are health benefits associated to both red and white wines, as they are both alcohol. Drinking small quantities of alcohol (up to one drink per day for women and one to two drinks per day for men) is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus, and early death (Source: Mayo Clinic). So we can conclude that both white and red wines are good for your health. One of the main benefits of white wines is that they can improve heart health and prevent heart diseases. They are also effective in promoting lung health.

But when we compare red and white, side by side, red tends to win out on the health benefits. Red wines have most of the same health benefits of white wines, and then some. Red wines contain a powerful type of antioxidant called resveratrol.

Resveratrols offer excellent protection for your blood vessels and can eliminate blood clots. They also inhibit the activities of enzymes that stimulate the growth of cancer cells and slow down immune response. Red wines also contain another antioxidant called polyphenol which are found to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve the immune system, combat against harmful bacteria and prevent cancer. Another antioxidant found in red wine is the flavonoid which are known to lower risks of cancer.

Prevention magazine did a side-by-side comparison of red wine and white wine (in the same amount of 5 ounces) and found these similarities and differences:


  • Red: 125 calories
  • White: 121 calories


  • Same: 3.8g

Natural sugars

  • Red: 0.9g
  • White: 1.4g


  • Same: 1%


  • Red: 4%
  • White: 2%


  • Red: 5%
  • White: 4%


  • Red: 3.4%
  • White: 2.6%


  • Red: 5%
  • White: 3%

Lutein and Zeaxanthin (carotenoids for eye health):

  • Red: 7 mcg
  • White: 0 mcg

Choline (helps in preventing liver damage and reducing inflammation):

  • Red: 8.4mg
  • White: 6.3mg

Wines don’t just improve physical health; they can also help you overcome stress. If you are suffering from a serious disease, the calming effect of wines may give you the mental focus to help you overcome the illness.

While drinking wine can have positive impacts on your health, please recognize that this is based on small quantities (one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men). Drinking more than this amount can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and stroke.