Moderate Drinking is Good for Heart Health

wineThe conventional wisdom that people who don’t drink live healthier and longer lives. If it were that simple, we wouldn’t have old drunks and young, healthy athletes wouldn’t have heart attacks.

For years, the government has understood that moderate drinking is not only beneficial to overall health, it has specific advantages for staving off heart disease and dementia. Because of the lasting effects of Prohibition and the political liability of claiming that drinking alcohol is good for you, the information tends not to make the news.

But, in 2010, it not only made the news, it was enshrined in the government’s publication of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The team behind the chapter on alcohol was led by epidemiologist Eric Rimm of Harvard Medical School. For the first time since the Guidelines have been published, the research team supported moderate alcohol use. They found that:

“The lowest mortality risk for men and women [occurs] at the average level of one to two drinks per day, [and] is likely due to the protective effects of moderate alcohol consumption on CHD [coronary heart disease], diabetes and ischemic stroke as summarized in this chapter.”

This passage was the reason behind the delay in accepting the Guidelines when they were released. It was not politically correct to claim that drinking could have positive health benefits. Eventually, the evidence was accepted that drinking could help with physical health, but the Department of Agriculture and DHS went even further by saying that:

“Moderate evidence suggests that compared to non-drinkers, individuals who drink moderately have a slower cognitive decline with age.”

Not only do drinkers live longer, they are more alert and aware while doing so.

Now, that sounds like a good reason to have a drink.

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