A recent issue of Newsweek magazine is devoted to cardiac health. In “A Healthy Toast: It’s not just wine that protects the heart. Alcohol has cardiac benefits - in moderation,” the fact is noted that medical evidence “has led researchers to an inescapable conclusion. As healthful as components of red wine may be, the primary benefit must come from ethanol itself. In short, it’s the alcohol, stupid.”
The major cardiovascular benefit from moderate drinking comes from alcohol’s raising levels of HDL (“good cholesterol”). HDL helps keep arteries free of dangerous plaque. Leading epidemiologist Dr. Eric Rimm of Harvard reports that drinking alcohol in moderation leads to HDL increases of 10 to 30 percent in a single week. He says that “nothing else in the diet can have such a dramatic impact on HDL in such a short time.” In addition, alcohol reduces blood clots, reduces inflammation, and increases insulin sensitivity -- all of which contribute to good heart health.
Little wonder that the author concludes that “ Whether you sip wine, beer or spirits, your heart may thank you.”