Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What's In Your Diet Wednesday? - The Heart Benefits of Moderate Drinking

Many of us...myself included....enjoy the occasional adult beverage with a meal.  Personally I don't know one wine from another....and couldn't extol the virtues of red versus white if my life depended on it.

 But I do believe in broadening my horizons and will try this wine or that wine at least once when I'm out with friends and the situation calls for it.

I'm more of a beer guy myself.....I know...I know....I'm the epitome of the American guy....born and raised smack dab in the middle of the USA.  I enjoy the dark beers in the winter and am especially grateful for the micro-breweries that have cropped up around the country to satisfy ever-expanding needs.  As far as the fruit of the me out here's white wine with fish and red with beef....correct?

With my wine ignorance on full display....I've long heard about the benefits of moderate alcohol on the most important muscle of the body....the heart.  So no matter your drink preference...don't be afraid to raise a glass of your favorite with your next meal...and read this article from Yahoo Health....
More Evidence Ties Moderate Drinking to Hearth Health

TUESDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Moderate alcohol consumption may help protect against heart disease, according to two new papers by Canadian researchers.

One team at the University of Calgary reviewed 84 studies that examined alcohol consumption and heart disease, and concluded that people who drink alcohol in moderation (one drink or less per day) are 14 percent to 25 percent less likely to develop heart disease as those who don't drink alcohol.

Another team reviewed 63 studies and found that moderate consumption of alcohol (which the researchers defined as up to one drink a day for women, and one to two drinks a day for men) significantly increases levels of "good" cholesterol, which has a protective effect against heart disease.

The findings, published online Feb. 22 in the BMJ, add to evidence from prior studies that found moderate alcohol consumption may be associated with a decreased risk of heart disease.

One expert said the research does seem to support the intake of a little alcohol to help the heart.
"In addressing lifestyle issues, alcohol consumption, in moderation, could be recommended as part of a heart-healthy lifestyle," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

The authors of the second paper, also from the University of Calgary, conclude that it is the alcohol content that provides the health benefits, not the type of alcoholic beverage (wine, beer or spirits).
Steinbaum agreed with that assessment. "One of the mechanisms of decreasing heart disease is by increasing the HDL ['good' cholesterol], which is independent of the type of alcohol, whether it be wine, beer or spirits," she said.

But the researchers on the first paper noted that although moderate drinking appears to boost heart health, that message needs to be balanced with the caveat that drinking too much is bad for your health.
Discussions about the impact of alcohol on heart disease should now focus on "how to integrate this evidence into clinical practice and public health messages," William Ghali, of the University of Calgary, noted in a news release from the journal's publisher.
What are your thoughts on the subject?  Do you have a favorite drink or perhaps you make your own??  My grandpa made his own beer and wine for many years and it was verrrry good!  I'd love to hear from you.....


a moderate life said...

Hi jayman! I totally agree with this article and believe that having the occasional glass of wine or a beer is good for your health. I think part of the issue is the ability to truly enjoy something and also the stress relieving factor! I am going to share this on my baby steps to a rockin' life because I believe it really is a small step in the right direction! All the best, Alex

Christy said...

I am a beer girl myself - I try and be grownup and drink wine but really I would prefer a beer! Glad to know a little alcohol is hearth healthy!