Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption

There is increasing evidence that moderate alcohol intake – meaning: an average of one drink a day for women and two drinks per day for men – may protect us against heart disease. This is especially so if we consume alcohol in the form of red wine. Research indicates that red wine contains natural anti-oxidants and other compounds capable of preventing the oxidation of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in blood vessels. Other studies suggest that moderate alcohol consumption may also help to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and decrease the risk of thrombosis (formation of blood clots) in vital blood vessels by making the platelets in blood less “sticky”.

On the other hand, drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure, produce irregular heartbeats, and contribute to obesity, all of which are themselves risk factors for cardiovascular disease. For these reasons, prevailing medical opinion leans towards the view that non-drinkers should not start consuming alcohol, while those who are already drinkers should not increase their alcohol intake.