So you celebrated Valentine’s Day with dinner and wine. Did it benefit anything more than your relationship? Wine in moderation is associated with lower heart disease. But the actual relationship is murky. Recent reports proclaim that resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine, can reduce heart disease. But doses required for the measurable benefit are high. Wine also thins the blood, which is part of heart health strategy. Again, the measurable benefit is debatable. So is there a cause-and-effect relationship, or do modest wine drinkers also do other things to lower their risk? Well, we don’t really know. Damage to the liver, stomach, and brain from excessive alcohol are well documented. And, of course, impaired driving can be lethal.
What to do: Moderation is the key. One glass of wine with dinner may have some benefit, however slight. Other lifestyle decisions – exercise, low-fat diet, and avoidance of smoking, are more important.
Thought for the day: Is it good for the heart to drink wine with your “baby”? My answer is a resounding “maybe”.
What’s Going Around is contributed by family practice doctor Kyle Scarborough, M.D. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.