As with food and exercise, moderation is key to reaping the benefits of drinking alcohol. And, yes, there are benefits. Studies have shown men and women, middle-aged or older who have one or two drinks per day have lower death rates from heart disease than both teetotalers and those who drink three drinks or more a day. Part of the reason is that alcohol seems to increase the concentration of heart-healthy HDL (or “good”) cholesterol. Another benefit, according to a new study, is that a moderate amount of alcohol acts as a kind of blood thinner
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., discovered that the alcohol equivalent of two drinks decreases the clumping together of platelets, cells that are essential to blood clotting. This is important because the formation of a blood clot that blocks an artery leading to the heart is the triggering event in a heart attac
This new research may also partially explain the so-called French paradox, which is the fact the French have less heart disease than Americans, despite the fact that they eat high-fat foods. Ingredients in red wine, which the French also enjoy as part of their culture, are thought to be partially responsible.