Yup … you read it correctly. You may have heard of “the French paradox,” a term that’s been bandied about for three decades now. The French eat all kinds of yummy foods like Brie cheese, Quiche Lorraine, and omelets cooked in butter. Yet, they experience less heart disease than many other countries—the opposite of what you might think. That’s the French paradox.
Alcohol and Heart Health
Researchers have found that it’s the French’s habit for drinking quality wine giving that protects their hearts and gives them superior heart health. The Copenhagen Heart Study concluded that two glasses of wine a day helped prevent heart disease in up to 40 percent of the people studied. The study points to the antioxidants (including a substance called resveratrol) and other nutrient qualities of wine as part of the reason for the benefits.
How much alcohol is OK?
Now, don’t go thinking you can just imbibe alcohol to your heart’s content, because your heart likes only a small amount: the benefits of alcohol on the heart have only been shown when drinking is kept at a minimal level. A single glass of wine is fine for many people and may provide some antioxidant benefits, but any benefits of alcohol disappear past two drinks. Alcohol is not a medicine! Repeated, heavy drinking can damage the heart muscle and the heart’s electrical system.
Alcohol can affect each of us—and our hearts—differently. Pay attention to your body, how it reacts to alcohol, and your heart history (including congenital heart disease). Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
To learn more about heart disease, heart healthy habits, and more, discover the book "Artisan's Approach to Your Heart," and take control of your heart health today.