LeBron James said he drinks wine every day because he once heard it’s good for his heart.
Wine does contain antioxidants and resveratrol, which lowers cholesterol and prevents blood clots.
But drinking too much alcohol every day can ultimately cause more damage to the heart than good.
The 36-year-old NBA superstar told ESPN that he regularly drinks wine and is still able to play the best basketball of his life, and does so for the benefit of his heart.
“I’ve heard it’s good for the heart,” James said. “Listen, I’m playing the best basketball of my life, and I’m drinking some wine pretty much every day. Whatever it is, I’ll take it.”
It’s a common myth in health that has some seeds of truth, but experts say it’s not as simple as that, and drinking wine so often can be detrimental. While wine is a mainstay in some of the healthiest societies in the world, research suggests drinking alcohol every day can have a detrimental effect, slowing down injury recovery and hindering athletic performance.
James became a ‘wine guy’ after he turned 30
James didn’t always have his wine habit, as he previously said he “was not a wine guy” and never drank wine at all until after he turned 30, in an interview with ESPN. James said he developed such a love for wine, that he even let his seven-year-old daughter try it when she was younger.
James isn’t alone — other NBA players like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Devin Booker are also big wine drinkers these days.
When grilled about his love of wine, James said he’s played his best basketball while drinking wine every day over the last six years. He’s made every All-Star game since turning 30 in 2015, and has improved in minutes played per game, points per game, rebounds per game, and assists per game in that time. This year James has missed 12 games due to ankle and abdominal injuries, and his rebound and assists numbers have decreased.
Wine does have ingredients that are heart-healthy
James’ point about using wine for his heart health does have some scientific basis.
Margarita Rohr, a cardiologist who is also the clinical instructor of medicine at NYU Langone Health, told Insider that red wine has antioxidant properties that may make blood less likely to form clots.
Wine contains certain antioxidants that can help prevent coronary artery disease and heart attacks. This is because it contains micronutrients, called polyphenols, which are found in the skin and seeds of grapes. Polyphenols called resveratrol can support heart health.
Polyphenols in red wine also have antioxidant properties. They can prevent or slow down the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins, which is the “bad” cholesterol in our blood. But it also increases the amount of high-density lipoprotein, which i the “good cholesterol” in our blood.
Too much alcohol can undo the benefits
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than one glass (140 ml) of wine a day for women and two a day for men. By that measure, James is within the guidelines.
But Rohr said any more than that, on a regular basis, can start to impact the cardiovascular system.
“Drinking alcohol in excess can be harmful to the heart and with excess consumption over an extended period of time, can lead to alcoholic cardiomyopathy,” Rohr told Insider. “This is a heart condition that affects the heart muscle directly and can cause heart failure.”
Read the original article on Insider