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Red wine and drink for heart health.

Can We Drink To Good Health?

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Can we drink to good health?

We asked you for your thoughts on alcohol and heart health, and we got quite an even spread of results!

If perchance that’s too tiny to read, the figures were:

  • 32% voted for “Alcohol is a relaxant, reduces stress, and can contain resveratrol too. It’s good for the heart! 🍷”
  • 32% voted for: “Moderate alcohol consumption can be at least neutral for the health, if not positive ⚖️”
  • 36% voted for: “Alcohol is bad for pretty much everything, including heart health ✋”

One subscriber who voted for “Alcohol is a relaxant, reduces stress, and can contain resveratrol too. It’s good for the heart! 🍷” added the following thoughts:

❝While it isn’t necessary to consume alcohol, moderate amounts can be beneficial and contribute to well-being through social activity, celebrations, etc.❞

That’s an interesting point, and definitely many people do see alcohol that way! Of course, that does not mean that one will find no social activities, celebrations, etc, in parts of the world where alcohol consumption is uncommon. Indeed, in India, wedding parties where no alcohol is consumed can go on for days!

But, “we live in a society” and all that, and while we’re a health newsletter not a social issues newsletter, it’d be remiss of us to not acknowledge the importance of socialization for good mental health—and thus the rest of our health too.

So, if indeed all our friends and family drink alcohol, it can certainly make abstaining more of a challenge.

On that note, let’s take a moment to considerThe French Paradox” (an observation of a low prevalence of ischemic heart disease despite high intakes of saturated fat, a phenomenon accredited to the consumption of red wine).

As it happens, a comprehensive review in “Circulation”, a cardiovascular health journal, has suggested the French Paradox may not be so paradoxical after all.

Research suggests it has more to do with other lifestyle factors (and historic under-reporting of cardiovascular disease by French doctors), which would explain why Japan has lower rates of heart disease, despite drinking little wine, and more beer and spirits.

So, our subscriber’s note may not be completely without reason! It’s just about the party, not the alcohol.

One subscriber who voted for “Moderate alcohol consumption can be at least neutral for the health, if not positive ⚖️” wrote:

❝Keeping in mind, moderate means one glass of wine for women a day and two for men. Hard alcohol doesn’t have the same heart benefits as wine❞

That is indeed the guideline according to some health bodies!

In other places with different guiding advisory bodies, that’s been dropped down to one a day for everyone (the science may be universal, but how government institutions interpret that is not).

About that wine… Specifically, red wine, for its resveratrol content:

While there are polyphenols such as resveratrol in red wine that could boost heart health, there’s so little per glass that you may need 100–1000 glasses to get the dosage that provides benefits in mouse studies. If you’re not a mouse, you might even need more.

To this end, many people prefer resveratrol supplementation. ← link is to an example product, but there are plenty more so feel free to shop around

A subscriber who voted for “Alcohol is bad for pretty much everything, including heart health ✋” says:

❝New guidelines suggest 1 to 2 drinks a week are okay but the less the better.❞

If you haven’t heard these new guidelines, we’ll mention again: every government has its own official bodies and guidelines so perhaps your local guidelines differ, but for example here’s what that World Health Organization has to say (as of January this year):

WHO: No level of alcohol consumption is safe for our health

So, whom to believe? The governments who hopefully consider the welfare of their citizenry more important than the tax dollars from alcohol sales, or the World Health Organization?

It’s a tough one, but we’ll always err on the side of the science.

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