Yet another way to reduce the leading cause of death by 50% – moderate drinking

Today’s science section in the New York Times reviews the background on effects of moderate drinking. This is a fun way to cut your risk in half for heart disease. Of course, you need to discipline yourself to moderation. Otherwise, your health risk from alcohol poisoning will overwhelm the benefits.

The Case for Drinking by Abigail Zuger

In a study of more than 80,000 American women, those who drank moderately had only half the heart attack risk of those who did not drink at all, even if they were slim, did not smoke and exercised daily. Moderate drinking was about as good for the heart as an hour of exercise a day. Not drinking at all was as bad for the heart as morbid obesity.

In thousands of middle-aged Danish men with high cholesterol, moderate drinkers had 50 percent less risk of developing heart disease from blocked arteries than abstainers.

Among more than 100,000 California adults, moderate drinking after age 40 was associated with reduced death rates during every subsequent decade of life — in some people by as much as 30 percent.

When the first alcohol studies were published, some critics objected that underlying factors might be affecting the results: perhaps the people who drank modestly were simply healthier in general, or had better access to health care. Perhaps those who abstained from alcohol knew they had heart disease and quit drinking for that reason. But many studies involving many thousands of people have swamped these objections.

“All criticisms have been shot down,” Dr. Ellison said.

For reasons why moderate drinking works, see:

How a Tonic Keeps the Parts Well Oiled

Moderate drinking lowers the risk of heart attacks more than reduction of cholestorol or reduction of blood pressure. It raises HDL, the good cholesterol, and has a strong antioxidant effect. A glass of red wine has more antioxidants than 7 glasses of orange juice or 20 glasses of apple juice.

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