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Wine and heart health

Definition

Studies have shown that adults who drink light to moderate amounts of alcohol may be less likely to develop heart disease than those who do not drink at all or are heavy drinkers. However, people who do not drink alcohol should not start just because they want to avoid developing heart disease.

Alternative Names

Health and wine; Wine and heart disease; Preventing heart disease - wine; Preventing heart disease - alcohol

Information

There is a fine line between healthy drinking and risky drinking. Do not begin drinking or drink more often just to lower your risk of heart disease. Heavier drinking can harm the heart and liver. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in people who abuse alcohol.

Health care providers recommend that if you drink alcohol, drink only light to moderate amounts:

  • For men, limit alcohol to 1 to 2 drinks a day.
  • For women, limit alcohol to 1 drink a day.

One drink is defined as:

  • 4 ounces (118 milliliters, mL) of wine
  • 12 ounces (355 mL) of beer
  • 1 1/2 ounces (44 mL) of 80-proof spirits
  • 1 ounce (30 mL) of 100-proof spirits

Though research has found that alcohol may help prevent heart disease, much more effective ways to prevent heart disease include:

Anyone who has heart disease or heart failure should talk to their provider before drinking alcohol. Alcohol can make heart failure and other heart problems worse.

References

Mozaffarian D. Nutrition and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 49.

US Department of Health and Human Services and US Department of Agriculture website. 2015-2020 dietary guidelines for Americans: eighth edition. health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/. Accessed May 15, 2018.


Review Date: 4/15/2018
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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