Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Will a Drink a Day Keep the Doctor Away?

tidbits that tantalizeYeah - It's Good For You...

We all know the adage touting the wisdom of consuming an apple a day. And, it's not just a cute little saying. Apples are terrifically healthy, promoting lower cholesterol, fighting antioxidants, increasing cardiovascular health, and reducing the risk of kidney stones. They're pretty darn tasty, too.

But, what about alcohol?

New research conducted at the Medical University of South Carolina finds daily alcohol consumption also has significant health benefits. The study assessed the impact of alcohol on middle-aged men and women, between the ages of 45 and 64. The subjects were participants in a study of atherosclerosis. Significantly, these were men and women who previously were Tea-Totallers.

The results were impressive. Those who began moderate consumption of alcohol - defined as one drink or fewer per day for women, and two or fewer for men - experienced a significant reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease. At the four-year follow-up, the risk was 38% lower for those who now drank moderately. That's a huge difference.

"Most people are aware that moderate alcohol use can be part of a healthy lifestyle, yet current guidelines caution non-drinkers against starting to drink in middle age," said Dana E. King, MD, MS, lead author of the study. "We wanted to evaluate whether adopting moderate alcohol consumption in middle-age would lower cardiovascular risk. We were excited to find that moderate alcohol consumption, or one to six servings a week, lowered cardiovascular risk for our participants."

The news was even better for red wine drinkers. Those who consume only red wine showed the greatest reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Still a Tea-Totaller? While commendable, you may want to consider that glass of red wine now and then. It tastes great and it's good for you.

To read more about the study, see this from ScienceDaily. To learn more about leading a heart healthy lifestyle, see this from the American Heart Association.


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