Dr. Randy Martin: We often hear that drinking alcohol can be beneficial to your heart. But is this accurate and does the amount of alcohol you drink make a difference?
A meta-analysis (meaning a look at 84 previous studies on the subject) was recently published in the British Medical Journal. The analysis indicated that those who consumed a moderate amount of alcohol lowered their heart-disease risk between 14 and 25 percent compared to those who did not drink at all. According to the authors performing the analysis, the modest consumption of alcohol not only raises good cholesterol (HDL) but also tends to relax blood vessels, both of which could be beneficial to your heart and reduce heart attack risk.
“It’s something that’s not yet prescribed by cardiologists,” says Ed Dyckman, M.D., a cardiologist with Piedmont Heart Institute. “If one doesn’t drink, we don’t recommending taking up drinking.”
Dr. Dyckman adds, “This research should not be an excuse for someone to drink in excess.” He recommends that women drink no more than one alcoholic drink per day, and men no more than two. Excessive alcohol consumption can have the opposite effect on your body and create health problems.
Dr. Randy Martin: So don’t save up your daily amounts for one big night of drinking—you’ll do much more harm than good. But, alcohol in moderation can clearly be good for your heart.