A New Study Just Proved Why Red Wine Gives You Worse Headaches

Ever wake up with your head throbbing and instantly regret that glass of Cabernet you drink at dinner? Science says you’re not alone. A new study in the Journal of Scientific Reports from University of California, Davis has finally revealed why drinking red wine, even in small amounts, can lead to an extra-painful headache more so than its white counterparts.

This type of headache, known colloquially as a “red wine headache,” usually occurs within 30 minutes to three hours after drinking. Though people have been aware of this phenomenon for a long time, the reasoning behind it has largely remained a mystery. According to the study, which was published Monday, red wine has a much higher level of quercetin, a flavanol present in many fruits (including grapes) and vegetables. The U.C. Davis research group found that this flavanol and its metabolites can interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize alcohol. While the compound is an antioxidant that is actually sold as a health supplement on its own, it can be problematic when consumed with alcohol.

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