Alcohol as a Key Ingredient to a Healthy Diet
Evidence suggesting that alcohol is "cardio-protective" first appeared in the literature about 30 years ago. The Framingham Heart Study [the longest running population study of heart disease which began in 1948] provided the first solid evidence of this association. The relationship has now been confirmed by dozens of large population ["epidemiological"] studies. However, physicians have been reluctant to recommend alcohol consumption to patients because of the well-known health consequences of excessive drinking [hypertension, liver disease, increased rates of cancer, violent or accidental death] and the horrors that are associated with "drinking and driving".
Moderation is the key. Many large studies have found that men and women who consume light to moderate amounts of alcohol per day live longer than those who abstain completely. The Physicians' Health Study involved long term follow-up of 89,300 men. The study found that men who drank five or six alcoholic drinks per week had a 20% lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who drank no alcohol. On the other hand, the same study showed that men who had more than two alcoholic drinks per day had a higher risk of death than nondrinkers. That means that, when drinking moderately, it appears to be quite beneficial; however, higher alcohol intake increases the risks of cancer and motor vehicle accidents so much as to overwhelm any cardiovascular benefits.
How does alcohol protect the heart? A large portion of the benefit may be attributable to increased levels of HDL ["good] cholesterol. Alcohol also has "antiplatelet" effects [making these natural blood elements less sticky and then less likely to clog arteries during plaque rupture] in much the same way as aspirin.
Moderate alcohol consumption may also help improve insulin resistance, which is just about one step below true diabetes and recognized as another independent predictor for cardiac risk. The Physicians' Health Study also showed that in subjects who consumed alcohol daily, the risk for heart disease was reduced by 60% in diabetic patients, compared to a 40% decrease in persons who did not have diabetes. Moderate alcohol intake also decreases blood values for CRP [C-reactive protein], a metabolic marker for inflammation (elevated when you are in an increased state of oxidative stress).
The jury is still out as to whether or not wine provides a better protective effect compared to other forms of alcohol. Red wine is rich in flavonoids, which slow down oxidation of LDL ["bad"] cholesterol [which is one of the last steps before it is deposited in your artery wall]. One recent study suggested that light drinkers who avoided wine reduce their risk of all-cause mortality by 10%, while light drinkers who preferred wine had more than a 30% decrease in this risk. However, other studies have found that all forms of alcohol [beer, whiskey, etc.] were equally protective.
It is important to emphasize that alcohol [of ANY kind!] should be limited to one drink daily for women and at most two drinks daily for men [this is based merely on general body size and nothing else]. One drink is defined as 1.5 oz of distilled spirits (such as whisky, gin, and vodka), 5 oz of wine, or 12 oz of beer. Patients who have liver disease, who have a personal or family history of alcohol abuse, or who cannot limit their intake in a responsible manner should NOT start! However, since "all things in moderation" is a good adage for much of life, others can enjoy a daily alcoholic drink as part of a generally healthy diet.
Disclaimer: If you are under 18, pregnant, nursing or have health problems, consult your physician before starting any weight loss plan. The information here is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your physician before beginning any course of treatment.
Dr. John Rumberger is the Author of The WAY Diet, The complete lifestyle plan to live longer, reduce stress, and lose weight the healthy way. To purchase The Way Diet simply go tohttp://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?path=
Buying Organic Produce: 6 Tips on How to Shop Wisely and Save Money
Some say they don't or can't buy organic foods due to higher cost and less availability. Here are a few ways to make organics more affordable and easier to purchase for your family.
7 Things To Your Health
Health is the thing. And no matter how many ways you can measure and quantify symptoms and disease, the only way to be healthy is to add to your health.
Do You Know Your Bodys ph And Its Relation To Your Health
Do you know your ph? By getting ph strips at a pharmacy, pool store or lab you can test your urine in the moring and see it's range. A good range is between 6.
The Macronutrient Balancing Act
Finally, dieters and healthy eaters everywhere have reason to rejoice, for there is a clear understanding of which fats, and which carbohydrates should be eaten for optimal health.For too long, healthy eaters with a range of diet or weight loss goals were provided with confusing, sometimes counterproductive information with respect to carbohydrates and fats.
Bathing Suit Season - A Nutritional Guide
Spring is in the air and ? summer is around the corner! I know a lot of people have been contacting me about getting themselves and their bodies ready for da-da- DUM ?BATHING SUIT SEASON.For those of us who live in the more northern part of the country and did not go anywhere tropical during the last six months, this can be an intimidating time.
Use Food and Focus to Gain Tons of Energy for Summer
While there are many effective ways to get more energy and build your productivity, I've found it very important to pay attention to the seasons."But wait a minute," you say.
Grains That Cause Illness
Eating grain products - breads, cakes, cereals - have long been consider a healthy choice. If you look at the RDA recommendations, grains, at the bottom of the pyramid, are what you should be eating the most of to maintain a healthy body.
A Look at Lactose Intolerance
Lactose is the primary carbohydrate in milk. Cow's milk contains 4-5% lactose, whereas human milk contains almost twice that amount.
The In-Office Emergency Nutritional Kit
Tired of having stare-downs with those boxes of Krispy Kremes, trays of brownies, and platters of cookies some well-intentioned but nutritionally clueless co-worker brings into the office? Be prepared for these and other nutritional setbacks at your office by stocking up on a few key items that will have your desk a veritable nutritional emergency kit.Water: Bottles and bottles of water.
Lingzhi A Miracle Herb For Peak Health
The secret of success is knowing how to deal with your body to maintain peak health condition. The dictum Health is Wealth hold more truth in the modern context than ever before.
Fruitceuticals - The Evolution of Fruit
Since the beginning of time, everyday fruits have been known to help maintain a healthy body. The popular "5-A-Day for Better Health" is a national program encouraging Americans to increase their daily servings of fruit and vegetables to five or more per day.
The Importance of Protein
Protein is one of the basic building blocks of the body so it is an essential part of your diet and can influence your strength but probably not your energy. Your muscles are built with protein and in fact protein is made up of 20 amino acids.
Introduction to Detox Diets
Detoxifying the body has become an apparent key preventative measure to all kinds of health problems. Since most of us are busy, and unable or unwilling to maintain a strict diet in order to completely eliminate all the toxins from our body.
Ayurvedic Nutrition: Let Your Food Be Your Medicine
It is ironic how something as obvious as nutrition has become overlooked in the modern health care system, and how in the name of convenience our fast paced society has given way to fast foods, microwaves, quick fix medicines, and eating on the run. Fortunately, there is a growing focus in the important role that nutrition plays in maintaining good health.
Seven Habits of Highly Healthy Eaters
"What exercises can I do to ?? As fitness professional I hear these words often. It doesn't matter if the sentence ends with, "get bigger muscles", "firm up my butt" or "flatten my stomach".
Being vegetarian is one of the greatest things in the world. From good health to sufficient energy in your daily life.
How Good Is Your Health?
It is a question we must ask ourselves continually if we want to live a healthy life. Your health is your most prized possession.
Introduction To Cocaine Addiction
Coke, more commonly known as cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant which instantly affects the brain after introducing it to the body. The effects of this drug are extremely pleasurable and give a false sense of euphria.
Capsulized Food: The Next Step in Food Evolution
Anyone who has spent a day fasting from food, or who has even skipped a meal, knows just how much time we save when we are not provisioning and consuming meals. Of course, efficiency is not our only concern when it comes to eating.
Reverse Disease and Maintain Optimal Health
PROTEIN DEFICIENT? CHANCES ARE YOU ARE!Did you know that 9 out of 10 people lack the proper amount of protein in their systems in order for their bodies to function properly? Contrary to popular belief, a sufficient intake of protein in the diet does not ensure that the body is getting what it needs. The trouble stems from the body's inability to properly digest dietary protein and manufacture systemic proteins which keep our bodies intact.