Alcohol Consumption and Blood Pressure

There’s no argument that diet affects your heart health and alcohol is no exception. The relationship between alcohol and blood pressure is undeniable. You’ve probably heard that a glass of red wine can prevent heart disease or lead to fewer heart attacks. This belief, widely known as the French Paradox, compared the eating habits of French citizens and Americans. Despite a high cholesterol diet in both countries, French citizens had fewer cases of heart disease. According to the study, the difference was red wine.   

While controversy exists regarding the benefits of red wine, all medical professionals agree that the effects of alcohol on your heart should be taken seriously. Depending on your overall health, the alcohol limit suitable for your body may vary from someone else. 

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Relationship Between Red Wine and Your Heart

According to the American Heart Association, a glass of red wine can be good for your heart because wine contains antioxidants that help produce good cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy-like substance in the cells of your body that help digest food. Good cholesterol can protect the heart by shielding away the free oxygen particles in the body that are known to lead to heart disease or cancer. That being said, doctors are unable to provide scientific proof that red wine on its own actually prevents heart disease. 

Other Types of Alcohol

In comparison, other types of alcohol such as beer or liquor can have adverse effects on your heart. Because these types of alcohol do not contain the type of antioxidants found in red wine, these beverages are cholesterol-free and contain carbohydrates. The presence of carbohydrates raises blood sugar levels, which in turn, can cause heightened blood pressure. Despite the absence of antioxidants, the effect of beer or liquor consumption entirely depends on how much alcohol you’re consuming.

Moderation is Key

Depending on what kind of alcohol and how much you drink can directly affect your blood pressure. 

Pro Tip: While an occasional drink might temporarily lower your heart rate and help you to relax, repeated binge drinking can lead to an increase in blood pressure and cause long term stress on your heart.

That being said, moderation is key and should be taken into consideration when drinking any type of alcohol. For women or men over the age of 65, moderate use would be considered one 12 oz. beer, one 5 oz. glass of wine, or one 1.5 oz. of 80-proof distilled spirits. In comparison, moderate use for men under the age of 65 would be considered two drinks. 

Know Your Body

There are many factors to consider when you’re having to decide what foods and drinks are right for your body. Depending on your age, genetics, and exercise practices, alcohol use might be discouraged. 

Questions?  Connect with our medical professionals for more information regarding alcohol consumption and blood pressure.