Recently, a few different studies have shown that one glass of red wine each day can benefit your heart. This may be true to some extent, due to the antioxidants (anti-aging substances) found in red wine. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are harmful effects as well as benefits to drinking alcohol every day.
What is one serving of alcohol?
One serving size or alcohol is equal to:
- 12 ounces of beer
- 5 ounces of wine
- 5 ounces of liquor
For long-term health, women should have no more than one drink a day, and men should have no more than two.
A study reported in the European Heart Journal found that men and women who had one alcoholic drink a day were about one-fifth less likely to develop heart failure those who didn’t drink any. This is probably because of the anti-aging compounds in drinks like wine, which may help protect your heart and blood vessels from damage. They may also help raise your good cholesterol, or HDL, which prevents plaques from hardening your blood vessels and arteries. The researchers also believe that the antioxidants may help prevent blood clots in your arteries. In turn, this can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Other studies, such as the 2010 study published in the American Journal of Nutrition, found that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may lower diabetes risk. Researchers in the Netherlands found that adults who had 1-3 drinks a day were less likely to get diabetes than those who didn’t drink at all, and heavy drinkers. This may be because alcohol tends to make insulin more sensitive, which helps your body use glucose better.
So, does alcohol benefit heart health?
The studies above seem to show that moderate alcohol intake may help your heart. However, some health experts warn that the studies may not be reliable because of the subjects that were chosen to participate in them. Therefore, it is suggested that:
- The harmful effects of heavy drinking outweigh the benefits of drinking some alcohol daily.
- Moderate alcohol consumption may not benefit everyone in the same way.
- If you do not drink alcohol now, it is best not to start.
The best way to protect your heart is to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, unprocessed dairy products, and whole grains, get plenty of sleep each night, and exercise every day.