There is no doubt that drinking large amounts of alcohol is bad for your health. But, given the potential health benefits of drinking moderate amounts of alcohol, the American Heart Association recommends that adults should consider drinking some alcohol. However, it is important that adults who drink should do so only in moderation. Women should have no more than one alcoholic drink per day and men should have no more than one to two drinks per day.
If you are considering beginning or continuing to drink alcohol, you should:
- Consult your physician to discuss its benefits and risks given your family history. Certain people should not consume any alcohol, such as pregnant women, people with liver disease, or those who are on certain medications.
- Limit your alcohol intake to one drink a day if you are a woman and one to two drinks a day if you are a man.
- Periodically review your use of alcohol with your doctor. You may need to change your drinking behavior if you begin to consume too much or experience harmful consequences as a result of drinking alcohol.
- Never drink alcohol if you are going to be driving or operating machinery.
People who drink moderately have heart disease less often than nondrinkers. Alcohol appears to increase HDL, the good form of cholesterol. Some other ways that researchers believe alcohol may help protect the heart include: