In this health video you will learn how a glass of alcohol each day can actually be good for your health.
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Raena Morgan: Hello, I’m Raena Morgan with iHealthTube. I’m visiting with Robert Kowalski and one of the things that you say in your book is that there are benefits to alcohol. Robert Kowalski: Actually, this is completely in contrast with the advice that used to be given of anyone who had elevated blood pressure; that they should totally abstain, have nothing to drink whatsoever. Research has shown that there really isn’t a need for that unless someone were to be at an extremely high level, what they call malignant hypertension that requires medication and really close monitoring by the physician. Those people probably will still be advised not to have any alcohol at all. For the rest of the population, however, with either a mild to moderate elevation in blood pressure, having a glass of wine, of beer, whatever your preference— Raena Morgan: It doesn’t have to be just wine. Robert Kowalski: [It] doesn’t have to be wine—absolutely not. What we’re talking about is the alcohol that’s in it. And this business of the red wine being so good for your heart, yes there is something in red wine called resveratrol; and resveratrol, if it were in a concentrated and expanded amount, would be beneficial for the heart. However you would—it would take gallons of red wine to achieve that amount. Really what we’re getting to is the benefit of the alcohol itself. A little bit of alcohol on a daily basis results in a rise in HDL, the good cholesterol; and also serves as a—frankly, alcohol is a depressant. People go to parties and drink a lot of alcohol— Raena Morgan: To get festive— Robert Kowalski: And they think, “oh, wow!” you know? Indeed, it is a depressant. It brings you down a little bit—which in moderation is a good thing because it helps you to relax. To have that glass of wine, or a little cocktail before dinner, or a bottle of beer with a spicy meal, whatever your choice would be, you get that nice little, little relaxing aspect and it’s perfectly okay, and even for those with hypertension. Now, here comes the hook. There is what’s called a J-shaped curve. As we start to consume alcohol, the risk goes down of heart attack and stroke; as we start to drink excessive amounts, beyond 2 drinks a day, then we come up the J and the risk starts increasing again. One definite cautionary note here, if you don’t currently drink alcohol, this doesn’t mean there are such benefits that you should start drinking. There are lots of negatives that are involved in it. Not the least of which are the fatalities from traffic accidents; the potential for abuse because some people had that predisposition. If you’re not drinking, it’s not a prescription to go out and start. But for those who enjoy alcohol, doing so in moderation is actually good for the heart. Raena Morgan: Well, that’s very pleasant news, and to think that we could benefit from drinking and it would lower our blood pressure. Robert Kowalski: I’ll drink to that. Raena Morgan: Thank you, Bob.