No sooner did I post about the Antarctic whiskey rescue operation than I stumbled upon another article extolling the virtues of alcohol.
This one is from BBC News, and cites a new study that drinking — moderately to heavily, I might add — cuts the risk of heart disease in men by more than a third. So, bottoms up, gentlemen! (Sadly, ladies are not invited to this party.)
The Spanish research involving more than 15,500 men and 26,000 women found large quantities of alcohol could be even more beneficial for men.
Female drinkers did not benefit to the same extent, the study in Heart found. . . for those drinking little — less than a shot of vodka a day for instance — the risk was reduced by 35 percent. And for those who drank anything from three shots to more than 11 shots each day, the risk worked out an average of 50 percent less.
And apparently, it doesn’t matter what you drink, although if you’re guzzling Old Thunderbird or Mad Dog 20/20 you’ve likely got other problems. Still, those who mix and match (like I did last night , blech) receive the most benefit. Yet it’s worth keeping in mind that, while your heart will be healthy, your stomach might mount an insurrection.
Researchers caution that this study should not be viewed as a license to binge, and also note that heavy drinkers typically have other at-risk factors that could mitigate whatever advantages are gained from copious consumption. Meaning, your alcoholic uncle might have a healthy heart from all the Jameson’s he pours down his gullet, if he weren’t also chain-smoking and packing away the Chinese takeout.
“Whilst moderate alcohol intake can lower the risk of having a heart attack, coronary heart disease is just one type of heart disease. Cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle, is associated with high alcohol intake and can lead to a poor quality of life and premature death,” said the British Heart Foundation’s senior cardiac nurse, Cathy Ross.
“The heart is just one of many organs in the body. While alcohol could offer limited protection to one organ, abuse of it can damage the heart and other organs such as the liver, pancreas and brain.”
Six of one half a dozen of the other, I say. You pickle your brain and destroy your liver, but your heart keeps pumping mightily. I’ll drink to that.