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Two Heads May Be Better Than One, but Two Drinks Aren’t

Posted Jul 01 2010 7:36am

Brandy GlassOnce again, when it comes to alcohol, we have a good-news-bad-news situation.  

The good news is that it doesn’t matter what form your evening nightcap takes.  While red wine is the favored alcoholic beverage, it’s not the only one with benefits. Something made with hops or rye, provided it has the needed ethanol, will dilate your blood vessels just as effectively, thus lessening the amount of work your heart is doing. So have a snifter of brandy, a dram of whiskey or a glass of pinot noir. But limit yourself to one, because as I said, this is a good-news-bad-news situation, and we’re just now getting to the bad news:

One drink helps; two drinks hurt .

Within sips of the second drink, a person’s heart rate, the amount of blood pumped out of the heart and the sympathetic nervous system’s activity rate increase.  If the blood vessels ability to expand also increased, this wouldn’t be a problem, but it doesn’t. It declines. The immediate risk of hypertension, heart failure and sudden death multiplies, and over time, the chances of chronic high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack steadily rise. Essentially, with every drink after the first, you replace any good that could have been done with potential disaster.

If a nightly drink is a part of your routine, make sure that you keep yourself within the realms of health. Have no more than one glass of the appropriate size (Wine comes in four ounce servings, spirits in 1.5 ounces) each evening. And if you are tempted into a second, don’t make it a regular habit. The stress to your system is more costly when incurred continually.

Drinking can be a good-news-only situation, but only when done intelligently.

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