Let’s talk alcohol! Studies say one drink a day is good for you. But how much is too much? And can a glass of wine before bed be just the thing you need to fall asleep? Here are the facts from cardiologist, Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Let’s start by talking about that one-drink-a-day research. The Mayo Clinic says one drink a day protects against heart disease by boosting good cholesterol. And all alcohol seems to have some benefit. For example, red wine relaxes blood vessels while vodka causes more vessels to develop. But red wine beats out all other types of alcohol because it contains antioxidants, plus a chemical called resveratrol. And that’s what’s proven to ward off things like heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and even cancer. The problem is people tend to over-pour. And the health benefits of alcohol go out the window as soon as you have more than one drink. Go over that amount, and you INCREASE the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and stroke.
So if one drink a day is good, can we save up and have seven on Saturday night? Absolutely not. Four drinks in two hours is considered binge drinking. And people who binge drink, regardless if they’re sober every other day of the week, are 85-percent more likely to have a stroke later in life. That’s because drinking can raise blood pressure very quickly.
Of course, we’re human, and there will be times when we have more than one drink a day. So Dr. Oz says, on those occasions have clear liquor, like vodka. You’ll be less likely to have a hangover. That’s because dark liquor, like whiskey, has higher concentrations of hangover-causing toxins that form when alcohol is fermented.
But research shows that drinking until you’re drunk just one weekend a month triples your risk of heart disease. That’s especially true for women because they have lower levels of the stomach enzymes that metabolize alcohol.
And forget about having a nightcap to cure your insomnia. Dr. Oz says, yes, alcohol IS a sedative, but it won’t help you sleep better. That’s because as the alcohol wears off during the night, it’ll disrupt your sleep cycle, waking you up. So have your “drink a day” with dinner, but cut yourself off at least three hours before bed.