Developing research shows that drinking red wine in moderation can significantly lower the risk of getting cancer. The key is the antioxidants, not the alcohol.
When red wine is produced, the skin of the grapes is left on. The skin of grapes is rich in polyphenols, which are antioxidant compounds that prevent damage to cells from oxidation –damage that has been shown to lead to cancer. One specific type of polyphenol, called resveratrol, has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Unlike red wine, the skin is excluded from white wine production. Red wine, therefore, is the healthier option when choosing a wine to accompany a meal. Pinot Noir has the highest concentration of resveratrol out of all the types of red wine, followed by Cabernet Franc.
Despite the existence of health benefits, risks are still present in any alcohol consumption, particularly for women. Even a moderate amount of alcohol intake can increase the risk of breast cancer and the return of breast cancer. The risk of cancers of the oral cavity, larynx, esophagus, and pharynx is also increased. Due to this risk, it is recommended that women not exceed one drink per day, and lesser amounts may be advised for women who are breast cancer survivors. It is recommended that men do not exceed more than two drinks per day. This is a general guideline, however, and talking to your doctor about alcohol intake in relation to personal health is advised.