Can red wine increase your blood pressure?

Are you someone who enjoys a glass of vino or two after a long day at work? Do you find yourself feeling more relaxed and stress-free as you sip on your red wine, pretending to be Olivia Pope from Scandal before eventually landing on the floor because let’s face it, one too many glasses is never enough? Well, some studies suggest that drinking red wine can potentially increase your blood pressure (but don’t worry – we’ve got all the deets). So put down your glass for just a moment while we dive into the science behind this theory.

What Causes Blood Pressure to Increase?

Before talking about how red wine can affect blood pressure, it’s important to understand what causes blood pressure to rise. There are various factors that contribute to high blood pressure such as:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Stress

When our arteries start narrowing due to plaque build-up (aka clogged arteries), it puts tremendous strain on our heart by making it work harder than usual. Over time, this excessive workload can lead to hypertension (which if left untreated can cause severe damage).

Wait…What Exactly is Hypertension Again?

Hypertension is a medical condition caused by an unhealthy lifestyle or genetic predisposition which results in consistently elevated levels of force being applied against artery walls. This prolonged increased level of force ultimately damages arterial tissues leading them becoming thin and even rupturous thereby compromising circulatory function.

Can Red Wine Affect My Blood Pressure Levels Though?

It’s believed that resveratrol – an antioxidant found in grape skins – may give benefits along with potential harm when consuming red wine (for those curious cats out there: antioxidants help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals). Studies have also shown that resveratrol has anti-inflammatory properties which could improve circulation but yet some of the findings suggest that it could actually increase blood pressure as well.

The Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

While red wine contains various heart-healthy compounds such as polyphenol antioxidants and flavonoids, which can improve arterial function and reduce inflammation (fun fact: some studies even showed how drinking moderate amounts of red wine coincides with longevity), it’s important to acknowledge that excessive consumption does more harm than good. According to data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism points “….definitionally problematic ‘binge’ level of four drinks for women, five for men”, highlighting the potential risks associated with large alcohol intake.

But Wait, There’s More!

Do you know what else is known to be high in antioxidants? Fruits! In fact, why not give yourself a little rainbow plate treat everyday instead: blueberries (antocyanins) + strawberries (vitamin c) + blackberries (fiber) = antioxidant heaven without risking your blood pressure levels. Plus you get another variety of nutrients beyond mere grapeskins!

Other Factors That Could Affect Blood Pressure

Aside from drinking too much alcohol, here are other factors that could contribute to hypertension:

  • Smoking
  • Excessive caffeine intake
  • Lack of sleep
  • Overconsumption of sodium-rich foods

By reducing habits like smoking and coffee addiction on top filling up on leafy greens and lean protein while staying hydrated throughout the day will hold one far stronger against circulatory system malfunctions (and won’t leave anyone feeling hungover – WINK).

How Do I Know If My Blood Pressure Levels Are Normal?

To determine whether your blood pressure levels are ideal, head over to any accredited medical facility where professionals can take readings using two numbers informing systolic vs diastolic ranges (this basically reveals how hard/forcefully our circulations systems experience operation).

As per American Heart Association, blood pressure readings fall within the following categories:

Category Systolic Pressure (mm Hg) Diastolic Pressure (mm Hg)
Normal Less than 120 Less than 80
Elevated Between 120-129 Less than 80
Stage I Hypertension Between 130-139 or between diastolic pressures of less than 90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) Between 80-89 mm Hg
Stage II Hypertension At least140or at least a diastolic pressure of90 mm Hg.

If your blood pressure reading falls in either elevated, stage I hypertension or Stage II hypertension,you may be advised to make lifestyle changes including modifying your diet and exercise routine.

Wrapping it All Up

So here’s the skinny (pun intended) on red wine and how it can potentially affect one’s blood pressure. As mentioned before, moderate consumption could have benefits but increased prone drinking habits will only hurt more in long term. Rather than relying on red wine as a saving grace for bodily systems , practicing balanced physical activity routines coupled with nutrient-rich diets topped by frequent scheduled check-ins via an accredited medical facility is the way to go (and remember not everything is just about finding excuses to consume alcohol).

After all, laughter is sometimes widely considered as one really good medicine with no side effects (except possibly being labelled as annoying when laughing loud alike hyena, otherwise carry on.)

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