Does wine help you live longer?

A glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away — or does it? From the French to the Sardinians, cultures in which people tend to drink wine daily have famously low (opens in new tab) rates of heart disease and lead lives longer (opens in new tab), on average, than Americans do. But does drinking wine actually help you live longer?

The belief that a daily glass of vino accounts for the health and longevity of those living in wine-centered food cultures goes back to a 1992 paper (opens in new tab) that called this phenomenon “the French paradox,” pointing to wine as an explanation. Today, however, our understanding of wine and its health effects is more nuanced. There is some evidence that drinking wine protects against certain health conditions, but the evidence that it leads to a longer life is thin, said Adrian Baranchuk, a professor of cardiology at Queen’s University School of Medicine in Ontario. “Studies of alcohol are limited in their design,” he said.

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