Alcohol is often touted as possibly lowering your risk of heart attack and stroke. But credible health organizations reporting this will always add the caveat that if you currently don’t drink, do not begin to do so for this purpose. And if you do drink alcohol, don’t have more than one drink per day for women and two for men. (Sorry ladies, blame it on nature for giving men more alcohol dehydrogenase, an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol.) There is a good reason for this caveat. Alcohol can lead to many types of digestive cancers (mouth, esophagus), liver cancer and breast cancer. And the one- or two-drink-a-day moderation mantra does not apply, as even small amounts raise your risk.
If you want heart-healthy benefits sans alcohol, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and get much of your protein from nuts, seeds, beans, low-fat/fat-free dairy and soy foods. Limit your consumption of red meat, and avoid processed meats altogether (ok, once in a while you can have that hotdog at a ballgame). And forget drinking red wine just for the heart-healthy resveratrol – you can also get it from non-alcoholic wine, grapes (Concord have the most) and grape juice. These non-alcoholic alternatives will provide you with plenty of additional disease-fighting nutrients as well.