Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Heart Benefits of Wine

As Valentine's Day just passed, we often go to wine and chocolate for our loved ones. Were you one of them?? ;) If not, February is also Heart Health Month and low and behold both wine and chocolate can be good for your heart. And in honor of National Drink Wine Day yesterday, below you may find some tidbits about the delicious adult beverage...


Heart Disease and Red Wine
Can drinking wine help prevent me from having a heart attack? Maybe. Studies show that moderate intake of alcohol seems to help prevent heart disease. However, experts are careful about recommending alcohol, because it can have so many negative effects. Many other ways are available to help prevent heart disease, including eating a healthy diet, watching your blood pressure, and exercising. Individuals who do not drink should never start drinking to prevent heart disease.

Benefits to the heart
All forms of alcohol, including red wine, seem to raise the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level in the blood. HDL is the “good” cholesterol, the type that helps remove low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad cholesterol,” from the blood. Less “bad cholesterol” reduces the chance that you will get plaque formation, which can result in a heart attack or stroke.

In addition, some properties of red wine have little to do with the alcohol, but everything to do with other health benefits. Red wine contains antioxidants, flavonoids, and resveratrol, which may limit the buildup of plaque in the arteries; plaque contributes to atherosclerosis. However, experts are not sure that red wine has any health benefits over other forms of alcohol. And keep in mind, you can get the same antioxidants in the fruit itself.

How much wine to drink
Moderate alcohol intake is what seems to help protect the heart. Moderate intake is up to one drink/day for women and two drinks/day for men. A drink is 12 fluid ounces (fl oz) of regular beer, 5 fl oz of wine, or 1.5 fl oz of 80-proof distilled spirits.

When you drink too much alcohol, you can actually increase your chances of heart disease or stroke. So, if you do drink, drink moderately.

Family history of alcoholism
If you have a family history of alcoholism or can not drink in moderation, you should not drink to prevent heart disease. Instead, make sure you exercise, eat a healthy diet, and try to watch your weight and blood pressure to help prevent heart disease.

Alcohol and weight gain
Drinking alcohol can make you gain weight. A 12-fl-oz regular beer contains about 150 calories and 6-fl-oz glass of wine contains around 120 calories. Drinking one or two drinks each day can add to extra weight gain over time, unless you exercise more or eat less. Do not let your alcohol calories take the place of other healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean meats, and dairy products.

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