Tom Brady says that staying hydrated prevents sunburns. Aaron Rodgers advocated for the use of a controversial drug used primarily for livestock as a cure for Covid-19. And now, we can add LeBron James to the list of big name athletes touting not-quite-accurate medical claims.
James, a noted oenophile, has been outspoken in his appreciation for fine wines. However, his belief in its heart health benefits may be slightly off the mark.
“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.”
First off, it’s rarely the best idea to base your heart health decision on what you’ve “heard.” That said, it is correct that the antioxidants and micronutrients in wine can help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of blood clots and improve heart health. And studies have indeed shown that moderate wine consumption can lower the risk of cardiovascular problems and potentially help you live longer.
Note the key word above is “moderate” wine consumption. While wine can be beneficial when consumed in moderate amounts, medical experts say drinking too much on a daily basis can actually damage your heart and liver, raise your blood pressure, increase your weight, and exacerbate numerous other conditions. As a rule, moderate consumption is defined as one glass a day for women and two glasses daily for men. Drinking more than that over time will actually be a detriment to your health.
It should be noted that Lebron James isn’t the only high-profile player in the NBA who likes a good glass of wine. Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Seth Curry are also noted for their appreciation of fine wine. And one player, Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum is even taking his appreciation to the next level, as he plans to open his own winery.
James has stated that he too may one day get into the business side of the wine industry, and perhaps even offer his own private label vintage. But before James starts bottling his own line of heart-healthy Man To Man Merlot, Zone D Zinfandel, Slam Dunk Syrah, or Box Out Beaujolais, remember that he’s a connoisseur, not a cardiologist. If you want a recommendation on the best wine to accompany your dinner, LeBron James is the man to talk to. But, if you’re considering the benefits of wine for improving your own heart health, talk to an MD, not LBJ.