Is Alcohol Good for My Heart?

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If you have medical conditions that alcohol can worsen, then we recommend that you stay away and avoid alcohol. But for people who don't have conditions that are worsened by alcohol-- triglyceride problems, kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, blood pressure problems. If you don't have those, and you talk with your physician, a lot of times moderate amounts of alcohol can be protective against heart disease.

Moderate is defined as one to two drinks per day. That's one drink per day for women, two drinks per day max for men.

We once thought that the main link between heart protection and alcohol was through red wine. We now know that's not the case. You can have any source of alcohol in moderate amount, whether that be 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, 1 and 1/2 ounces of spirits, and they all seem to have the same cardio-protective effects.

Too much alcohol can do the opposite. It can cause heart failure. It can cause really high blood pressure. It can cause your kidneys to fail and your liver to fail. So there is a moderate amount of alcohol that seems to be protective.