I often talk about the health benefits of red wine and a new study seems to support the growing body of research that suggests that moderate red wine consumption may reduce breast cancer risk. Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles recently reported. The authors explained that the chemicals in the seeds and skins of red grapes slightly reduce estrogen levels and raise testosterone among premenopausal females – thus reducing their breast cancer risk.
The authors stress that it is the red grape that has the beneficial compounds, and not just red wine. They suggest that women should consider red wine when choosing an alcoholic beverage to consume, rather than encouraging wine over grapes.
The research team also noted that large-scale studies still are needed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of red wine to see if it specifically alters breast cancer risk. They cautioned that, despite this study and other studies supporting the breast cancer reduction outcome, current data indicates that even moderate amounts of alcohol intake may generally increase the risk of breast cancer in women. Therefore, until larger studies are done, it is not recommend that a non-drinker begin to drink red wine. But rather, for moderate female alcohol drinkers, it may make sense to reassess their choices. Chrisandra Shufelt, MD, one of the study’s co-author, wrote:
“If you were to have a glass of wine with dinner, you may want to consider a glass of red. Switching may shift your risk.”
Breast cancer is the leading type of women’s cancer in the U.S., accounting for more than 230,000 new cases last year, or 30% of all female cancer diagnoses. An estimated 39,000 women died from the disease in 2011, according to the American Cancer Society.