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Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Alcohol Reduce Heart Disease Risk?

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I get this question a lot: Isn't drinking some alcohol good for me? What about the antioxidants in red wine?

A new study out of Spain published in the medical journal Heart found that indeed alcohol in almost any quantity is associated with nearly a one-third reduction in incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD)....in men. They did not find a statistically significant difference in women.

Researchers believe that alcohol may have a positive affect on the heart because it is a slight blood thinner which can affect clotting factors. Some evidence also points to increasing HDL (or good) cholesterol and reducing inflammation.

When you hear this kind of information, it makes you a bit thirsty, doesn't it? Mmmm...a nice glass of wine or a cold brew sounds wonderful. Drink up...but only in moderation. There is still pretty good evidence out there that women should only have one drink per day and men should limit themselves to two drinks. And no, you cannot save them up for the weekend! When you have more than one or two at a time it is too much of the toxins in alcohol to continue to be good for the body. High levels of alcohol have been associated with liver disease and some recent studies link drinking even small amounts to cancer.

So if you don't drink, should you start because it is good for your heart? NO! Get out and exercise to raise your HDL, take fish oil omega-3s to reduce inflammation, and eat fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, and whole grains for your antioxidants! Talk to your doctor about taking a baby aspirin daily to thin your blood.

What is considered to be one drink? All of these contain the same amount of alcohol:
  • 5 oz of wine
  • 12 oz of beer
  • 1.5 oz of 80 proof liquor (a shot glass)
  • 1
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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