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Is alcohol good for your heart?

Research shows having one drink a day may help protect your heart health and your entire vascular system. Enjoying a moderate amount of alcohol also seems to raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (good) cholesterol. In addition, it helps you to wind down, so your blood pressure can wind down, too. Although wine itself doesn't contain omega-3 fatty acids, research suggests that a bit of wine -- not too much, not too little -- somehow boosts blood levels of these heart-healthy fatty acids.
We learn the evils of alcohol at an early age. They include drunken driving, addiction, cirrhosis of the liver, high blood pressure, alcohol poisoning, and so on.

The strange thing is that alcohol might actually be good for you, under certain circumstances.

Recent evidence suggests that people may reduce their risk of heart disease by drinking particular types of alcohol, in particular amounts.
Drinking alcohol in moderation may help protect against heart disease. Adults who consume one to two alcoholic beverages a day appear to have a lower risk of coronary artery disease. And it doesn’t appear to matter whether you drink wine, beer or liquor. 

But moderation is key. Consuming more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men increases the risk for high blood pressure, stroke, some types of cancer and dependence on alcohol.
  • One drink is 12 fluid ounces of regular beer, 5 fluid ounces of wine or 1.5 fluid ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.
  • Check with your doctor before drinking alcohol. Some medications can interact with alcohol. And some individuals with specific medical conditions should not drink at all.
If you don’t currently drink alcohol, it is not recommended to begin drinking alcohol for health benefits alone, since there are many other health risks due to drinking alcohol.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.