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Light wine intake is associated with longer life expectancy in men

ring life," Streppel said. "This enabled us to study the effects of long-term alcohol intake on mortality." Researchers found that the number of alcohol users nearly doubled from 45 percent in 1960 to 85 percent in the 2000 survey. Average alcohol consumption rose and then fell at various points during the study. Users?consumption was eight grams a day in 1960, then survivors?consumption was 18 grams a day in 1985, dropping to 13 grams per day in 2000. The percentage of wine users increased during follow-up from 2 percent in 1960 to more than 40 percent among the survivors in 2000. "One can speculate that a protective effect of light alcohol intake could be due to an increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, or to a reduction in blood clotting, due to an inhibition of platelet aggregation," Streppel said.

Furthermore, red wine consumption may have an additional health benefit because the polyphenolic compounds contained in wine have been seen in animal to interfere with the formation, progression and rupture of atherosclerotic plaques ?the build-up of fatty tissue in the arteries that can result in stroke or heart attack.

"Those people who already consume alcoholic beverages should do so lightly (1 to 2 glasses per day) and preferably drink wine," Streppel said. "The cardio-protective effects of alcohol and wine only held up for light alcohol consumption in middle-aged men. Heavy alcohol consumption may cause accidents and diseases such as cancer and cirrhosis of the liver, even though this was not observed in our study. Since alcohol consumption can be addictive, starting to drink alcohol because of its positive health benefits is not advised."

How alcohol or wine might affect cardiovascular risk merits further research, but right now the American Heart Association does not recommend beginning to drink wine or any other form of alcohol to gain these potential benefits. The association does recommend that to reduce
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Source:American Heart Association


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