• Two new studies were presented at the American Heart Association Annual Meeting.

    Researchers found that women who had one or two drinks most days of the week had a 28% percent improved chance of good health at age 70, meaning they did not have cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other diseases or physical impairments and problems with memory or mental health.

    In a second study, women who drank up to one drink a day had a 20% reduction in the risk of stroke compared with women who didn’t drink at all. Any level of alcohol was associated with lower risk of stroke. Researchers believe that alcohol helps the body metabolize Researchers believe that alcohol helps the body metabolize glucose more efficiently, in addition to reduce the risk of blood clots.

    Dr. Qui Sun, found that women drinking most days were healthier than women who drank one or two days a week, which frequently resulted in binge drinking. Consumption wasn’t cumulative; the women couldn’t safely avoid drinking during the week and then have a great many drinks on the weekend.

    Researchers from Bringham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University used the data from 200,000 women in the landmark Nurses’ Health Study started in 1976. It recorded daily data on food and alcohol consumption.

    Before you become too enthusiastic about drinking, note that the American Heart Association defines a drink as 140-milliliter (5 ounces) for a glass of wine, 340-milliliters for beer (11 ½ ounces) or 30 milliliters (one ounce) for hard alcohol. Most glasses of wine today are 6 ounces or more. Try a measuring cup to check.

    Because of concerns about negative health effects associated with too much alcohol, the American Heart Association and some other health groups currently recommend that women limit their alcohol intake to one drink a day and men stick with two. It’s not recommended that non-alcohol drinkers take up drinking. Drinking too much alcohol is known to cause liver problems. Some studies say it could lead to elevated breast cancer risk, even with moderate alcohol consumption.

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