Although past research suggests that drinking a glass or two of wine a day may have some heart benefits, new findings suggest that those studies were flawed.

Risks Outweigh the Benefits

There is some evidence that heavier drinking provides heart protection -- alcoholics have relatively 'clean' arteries -- but the other health risks of heavy drinking outweigh the benefits.

Early observations in the 1970s and 1980s seemed to indicate a 20 to 25 percent reduction in heart disease risk linked to light drinking. However, the way those studies were carried out did not allow researchers to say with certainty that the findings could not be due to factors other than alcohol consumption.

Diet, Exercise, Quit Smoking

The British Heart Foundation responded to the new evidence by saying that their advice remained the same: "... the best way to reduce the risk of heart disease is to quit smoking if you smoke, increase levels of physical activity and eat a healthy balanced diet."

BBC News December 2, 2005

Dr. Mercola's Comment:Good advice from the British Heart Foundation, so long as your balanced diet is nutritionally sound.

As I've said before about studies touting all the "benefits" of drinking red wine, I personally do not advocate it. There are many health experts that feel it is fine in moderation, but I am still not convinced.

This is largely because I am convinced the alcohol itself is actually a neurotoxin, which means it can poison your brain. Additionally, it has the strong potential to seriously disrupt your delicate hormone balance. Plus, drinking two or more glasses (of wine or any alcoholic beverage for that matter) may offset the benefit and increase your risk of certain cancers.

You also need to be aware that consuming large amounts of wine will increase insulin levels and eventually have a negative impact on your health that way as well.

If you absolutely insist on drinking red wine, check on the growing conditions of the grapes used and how the wine is made. And if you can, take a brisk walk to pick it up, as exercise is your real ticket to preventing heart disease.

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