You may have heard the phrase, “Everything in moderation.” And this is certainly the best advice when it comes to alcohol consumption.
It’s true some studies have suggested that alcohol may be associated with various health benefits, including a lowered risk of heart disease for some. But the American Heart Association doesn’t recommend drinking alcohol or increasing your alcohol consumption as a means of lowering your risk for heart disease.
Upping your alcohol consumption not only puts you at increased risk of dependency (alcoholism), accidents and even suicide, it also increases your risk of heart disease in several ways:
- Increased calorie intake, leading to weight gain
- Increased risk of developing diabetes
- Elevated triglycerides, or fats present in the bloodstream
- Increased risk of high blood pressure
- Excessive drinking and binge drinking can lead to stroke
- Increased risk of heart failure and other forms of cardiovascular disease
And as for curbing stress, moderate exercise is by far the healthier choice over an alcoholic beverage.
News for red wine lovers
Recent research published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation Research shows that a few glasses of nonalcoholic red wine a day may significantly lower blood pressure. Another bonus? It may lower a person’s risk of heart disease by 14 percent and their risk of stroke by a whopping 20 percent.
However, the same may not be true for wine containing alcohol. Researchers found that while both alcoholic and nonalcoholic red wine contain equal amounts of polyphenols – powerful antioxidants known to decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by easing blood flow to the heart and organs – the alcohol present in red wine weakens the polyphenols’ ability to lower blood pressure. So sip with caution.
For more information, check out our resources about alcohol and heart disease and consult your doctor.