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Wellness Check: Can alcohol provide benefits to health? The relationship between alcohol and heart disease

Posted at 7:12 AM, Jul 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 08:12:11-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Previous studies have made claims that consuming small amounts of alcohol might offer benefits to your heart.

However, a new study suggests that may be far from the truth.

3 News Now anchor Vanessa Villafuerte takes a closer look at the direct link between alcohol and heart health.

The recent study conducted by The Journal of the American Medical Association published new evidence that shows inconsistencies in the claim.

In fact, Dr. Arum Kanmanthareddy, a cardiologist at CHI Health, said it’s not that simple.

"The relationship between alcohol and heart disease is quite complicated,” Kanmanthareddy said. “There's conflicting data on how alcohol affects heart health."

The JAMA study reveals those with lower heart risk were already light to moderate drinkers. The majority of those in that category also had a healthier lifestyle, consisting of a well-balanced diet and exercise.

"Most people who were consumers of low alcohol intake, were relatively healthy people,” Kanmanthareddy said. “They exercise, they are very conscious of their diets, so I think a lot has to do with how the heart health is affected in addition to alcohol, these factors might also influence the outcome of this study."

In other words, moderate drinkers, or those who drink less than 15 drinks a week, have better health as a result of their lifestyle, not the amount of alcohol they consume.

The study also debunked previous claims made, adding no amount of alcohol provides benefits to your heart.

When it came to those high-alcohol consumers, which is defined by 24 or more drinks a week, research revealed an exponential increase in risk of cardiovascular disease.

If you fall under that category, the good news is there’s still time for you to change the narrative and prioritize your heart health.

"If you were a high consumer of alcohol and you started to lower the risk by cutting down on your drinking and exercising, and doing all of the right things, there's a chance your risk for heart disease will go down significantly," Kanmanthareddy said.

Just as research revealed, limiting your alcohol intake from minimal to none, along with leading a healthy lifestyle, will do wonders for your heart.

But if you consider yourself a social drinker, make sure your alcohol consumption remains low.

The study was conducted from 2019-2022.

Along with a clean diet and exercise, doctors recommend mitigating stress, another contributor that could lead to poor heart health.

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