10 Common Myths About Alcohol and Heart Health Debunked
Alcohol’s impact on heart health has been debated for centuries, leading to myths about its benefits and harms. Some suggest moderate consumption reduces heart disease risk, while others claim any amount is harmful.
However, as scientific research advances, many of the myths associated with drinking, leading to a clearer understanding of the relationship between alcohol and heart health.
This article will explore and demystify ten common myths surrounding your hearth and alcohol, providing a more accurate and evidence-based perspective.
Myth 1: Drinking a glass of red wine every day is good for your heart.
Fact: While moderate consumption of red wine may have some heart benefits, this does not mean that drinking a glass daily is necessarily good for your heart.
All alcohol is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular issues. A 2018 study concluded, “The level of alcohol consumption that minimized harm across health outcomes was zero standard drinks per week.”
So it’d be best to avoid alcohol in all forms. That being said, using an alcohol tracking app can help you stay mindful of your consumption.
Myth 2: Drinking alcohol can lower your blood pressure.
Fact: While small amounts of alcohol may temporarily lower blood pressure, drinking too much can increase the risk of heart disease and health problems.
According to the American Heart Association, moderate alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure by about five mmHg, while heavy drinking can increase it by up to 20 mmHg. Even moderate drinking over time can cause heart problems. So, to maintain good heart health, avoid alcohol as and when possible.
Myth 3: Drinking beer is harmful to your health.
Fact: Some studies show that drinking beer can increase the risk of heart disease, while others show that drinking wine or spirits may have a less harmful effect on the heart. The jury is still out on this issue.
Excessive alcohol consumption increases heart disease risk, but no evidence suggests that beer is riskier than wine or spirits. Moderate beer drinking may even have cardiovascular benefits, so go ahead and enjoy a cold one.
Myth 4: Only red wine has heart-healthy antioxidants.
Fact: While red wine is often touted for its antioxidant content, according to studies, it is not the best source of antioxidants.
These compounds are heavily advertised for their anti-aging and heart-protecting properties. But there is zero evidence that they do anything for the heart.
So if you’re looking for a healthy alcoholic beverage choice, go with water or unsweetened tea.
Myth 5: Moderate Drinking can prevent heart disease.
Fact: Moderate alcohol consumption is not guaranteed to prevent heart disease, despite some studies suggesting a lower risk.
Some believe alcohol protects against heart disease, but research has debunked this myth. Drinking alcohol can increase the risk of heart disease by up to 15% and other health problems such as stroke and kidney issues.
So if you’re looking for ways to protect your heart health, here’s what you can do:
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
- Get regular exercise
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Manage stress
- Quit smoking
- Control your blood pressure and cholesterol
- Limit alcohol intake
Myth 6: All alcohol is equally good (or harmful) for your heart.
Fact: While moderate red wine consumption may have benefits, excessive alcohol can harm the heart and overall health.
Moderate drinking may protect against heart disease but can also increase the risk of stroke and fatal arrhythmias. To guard our hearts against harm, awareness of the dangers and moderation in consumption are essential.
Myth 7: Drinking alcohol can help you live longer.
Fact: Moderate alcohol consumption may increase longevity, but excesive drinking can reduce your lifespan.
No scientific evidence supports the claim that drinking alcohol can lead to a longer life. Studies have shown that heavy drinking can increase your risk of developing heart disease and other health problems.
However, alcohol impacts aging in several ways, increasing the risk of:
- Liver disease
- Heart disease
- Liver damage
- Memory loss
- Sleep problems
While moderate alcohol consumption may have health benefits, limiting alcohol intake and practicing healthy habits like regular exercise and a good diet can promote healthy aging.
Myth 8: You need to drink alcohol to get heart-healthy benefits.
Fact: While moderate alcohol consumption may have heart benefits, these benefits can also be obtained through other healthy means, such as exercise, a healthy diet, and not smoking.
While heavy drinking—defined as consuming more than five drinks per day—has been shown to increase your risk for developing cardiovascular disease, there is no evidence to suggest that occasional drinking increases the risk of heart problems either.
Myth 9: Women cannot drink as much as men.
Fact: Women’s alcohol tolerance is typically lower than men’s, but it doesn’t mean they can’t drink as much.
The major myth about alcohol and heart health is that women cannot drink as much as men without risking their health. The truth is that there is no limit on how much alcohol a woman can consume.
Drinking in moderation is beneficial for heart health, but excessive drinking can lead to serious health problems like liver cirrhosis and cancer. If you want to control your alcohol drinking, use tracking apps like Sunnyside.
Myth 10: Heart disease is not contagious if you have no family history.
Here are some facts about alcohol and heart health.
- People who do not have a family history of heart disease should still care about their heart health if they consume moderate amounts of alcohol.
- Drinking regularly increases your risk of developing heart disease, and there is a correlation between the consumption of red wine and lower heart disease risks.
- Even though studies have suggested that beer might be less harmful than other alcoholic beverages when it comes to causing heart problems, take this finding with a grain of salt.
Go for a Healthy Lifestyle
Scientific research has debunked many common myths about alcohol and heart health. Moderate alcohol consumption has adverse effects and is not a reliable way to prevent heart disease. A healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and appropriate medical care is the most effective way to maintain heart health.People can make informed decisions and take necessary steps to improve their health by dispelling these myths.