A Red Wine Reduction … in Breast Cancer Risk?
“If you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, you may want to consider opting for red,” says Chrisandra Shufelt, MD, assistant director of the Women’s Heart Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.
Drinking red wine in moderation may reduce a risk factor for breast cancer, acting as a natural weapon against this major cause of death among U.S. women. A study at Cedars-Sinai co-authored by Dr. Shufelt found that chemicals in the skins and seeds of red grapes slightly lowered estrogen levels while elevating testosterone in premenopausal women who each drank eight ounces of red wine—just under two glasses—daily for about a month. The more estrogen that women are exposed to over a lifetime, the higher their risk of breast cancer.
The study, published online in the Journal of Women’s Health, challenges the long-held notion that any alcohol consumption heightens the risk of developing breast cancer by increasing the body’s estrogen levels. However, the authors acknowledge that larger studies are needed.
So let’s drink to women’s health and reducing the risk of breast cancer, but make it a nice cabernet sauvignon—the wine used in the study—because white wine does not have the same protective attributes. (Sorry, chardonnay lovers!)
But nondrinkers need not despair. According to one of the study’s co-authors, Glenn Braunstein, MD, chair of the Cedars-Sinai Department of Medicine: “For those who don’t drink, don’t start. Just eat red grapes.”