alcohol and the heart

There are a number of studies that may seem to imply that drinking alcohol is good for the heart and can help reduce the risk of heart disease and heart failure. While there may be a link between the two, taking this information at face value presents a number of dangers that need to be addressed in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle while engaging with alcohol. There are still a number of negative effects that alcohol can have on the body, misconceptions about alcohol itself, and even what constitutes “one drink.” Before someone begins to drink with the impression that it will help them maintain a healthy heart, it is important to ask a few questions first. 

It is also important to note that there are also a number of biological components at play that influence if alcohol is even healthy at all for someone in the first place. For some, there may be many risks involved with alcohol and very few benefits to reap from its usage. Overall, any potential health benefits that someone may get from alcohol are usually greatly overshadowed by other, more reliable healthy outlets, such as a healthy, balanced diet, exercise, and proper hydration rather than relying on alcohol

Not All Alcohol Is the Same

When addressing the health benefits of alcohol, it is important to know that not all alcohols are the same and not every alcoholic drink will provide any kind of health benefit at all. Drinking a beer and taking a shot, while it may overall contain the same amount of alcohol, can have a very different effect on the body. Ingesting an alcoholic drink may have many different effects on the body as well, as whatever the alcoholic drink is mixed with can cause its own health risks. For example, just because there is alcohol in a rum and coke doesn’t make it a healthy drink, as there are still large amounts of sugar and caffeine present that may cause the opposite of a healthy effect for the body. Simply stating that “alcohol is good for the heart” leaves a lot of pertinent information out and can cause someone to falsely believe that drinking wine has unequivocal health benefits.

Is One Drink Really “One Drink?”

What “one drink” looks like will differ from person to person. Some people may like their mixed drinks heavier than others, and even what constitutes a “glass of wine” can vary depending on how full someone fills the glass. One person’s “one drink” may equate to two or more for someone else, depending on a number of factors. So when someone is thinking that “one drink” or “one glass of wine” may be healthy, it is common to think of this through a personal lens. That is, whatever “one drink” already meant to that person. However, there are standard drink sizes that someone can use to help measure their alcohol intake. “One drink” most often refers to either one 12oz bottle of beer (around 5% alcohol), one 5oz glass of wine (around 12% alcohol), or one 1.5oz of liquor (around 40% alcohol). Using these measurements, someone may realize that their “one drink” is actually a lot more than what is recommended. This excessive intake can then have the exact opposite effect that someone desires and can have many negative health effects, such as weight gain. 

A Healthy Drink Isn’t a Healthy Relationship

The biggest problem with viewing alcohol as a healthy practice is that it creates a positive relationship between drinking and a person’s mindset. Some may see this small, potential health benefit as a way to excuse their drinking under the pretense that it can’t be that bad, maybe even seeing as it is a healthy thing to do. Others may see it as a reason to drink every day or even begin to see alcohol as a way for them to replace other healthy practices in their lives. All of these can be dangerous to one’s health and, more importantly, can cause someone to delve further into relying on alcohol. What started as someone believing they had a harmless, even healthy, practice of drinking alcohol can devolve into dependency or addiction if left unchecked. 

While alcoholic drinks such as red wine are often touted for their health benefits, there is much more at play to be healthy than simply drinking wine. Creating this positive relationship or association between alcohol and health can lead to many destructive behaviors that can not only cause negative health effects but also begin to set the groundwork for a developing dependency if these associations and practices go unaddressed. Any potential health benefits from drinking alcohol like red wine are typically better achieved by maintaining a healthy lifestyle of exercise and dieting, and alcohol should not be seen as a replacement for someone’s exercise or any other healthy outlets. 

Moderating alcohol and drugs can be difficult and a dangerous relationship can open the gates to developing a substance dependency or addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, Alta Centers are available to help you take the first step towards a sober future today. Providing a comfortable, luxurious place to begin the detox process, aided by trained medical staff and therapeutic and emotional support, Alta Centers can help you take the first, powerful step forward in your own personal recovery journey. With programs able to be catered to your own needs and goals, Alta Centers can help you create your own plan for success, all while championing a sense of inclusion and fun that comes with the spirit of Los Angeles. For more information on how Alta Centers can help you, or to speak to a trained professional about your unique situation, call us today at (888) 202-2583.

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