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Alcohol: The good, the bad and the ugly

There have been many studies that have shown alcohol in moderation really does have health benefits. According to cardiologist Dr. Randy Martin, moderation means one drink a day on average for women and no more than two drinks a day for men. A drink is a 12-ounce beer, a five-ounce glass of wine or a one-and-a-half shot ounce of whiskey. Here are some of the health benefits of drinking in moderation:

  • Numerous studies that show modest alcohol intake by men and women can dramatically decrease your risk of dying from all causes.
  • Specific studies that show it decreases your risk of heart disease and heart attacks by up to 40 percent, all types of strokes by 17 to 22 percent and age-related dementia over a lifetime.
  • Alcohol raises the HDL, or good cholesterol, preventing heart disease and stroke.
  • Alcohol makes the blood platelets less sticky and less likely to clot, which also prevents heart disease and strokes.
  • Alcohol also has a beneficial effect on blood vessels throughout the body and other organs influenced by inflammation.

On the flip side, alcohol in excess is harmful. It is directly related to many motor-vehicle accidents. If you don’t drink, you can still get these health benefits by eating the right diet, exercising, not smoking and keeping your weight at an ideal level. If you do drink, drink in moderation, and drink with food which slows the absorption of alcohol. And never drink and drive.

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