Is Moderate Drinking as Heart Healthy as You Think?

Couple, Romantic, Dinner, Togetherness, HolidayThings can get confusing when it comes to drinking. You know that too much is certainly harmful, but you’re also exposed to repeated messaging that moderate intake might be good for your heart.

What gives?


The idea that light or moderate alcohol consumption is good for you comes largely from some observational studies that have found red wine helps promote circulation.

Red wine, as you may know by now, is a good source of antioxidants.

However, doctors stop short of telling non-drinkers they should start drinking to achieve these potential, albeit nominal, benefits.

But new research seems to be saying that even light or moderate drinking can pose a danger, particularly for people with atrial fibrillation, or A-fib.

A-fib is a common type of heart arrhythmia that leads to a fast and irregular heartbeat. Although it is not immediately life-threatening, it may boost the risk of a heart attack or stroke over time.

A new study published in the European Heart Journal shows moderate drinking—up to two drinks per day—can substantially boost the risk for A-fib.

Researchers looked at 100,000 European adults with no history of the condition. They found a correlation between new cases and alcohol consumption. A-fib’s risk went up by double digits with just one drink per day, and jumped substantially with each successive drink.

Here’s how alcohol consumption affected A-fib risk compared to non/never drinkers:

  • People who had one drink per day were 16 percent more likely to develop A-fib.
  • Two drinks per day led to a 35 percent greater risk.
  • Three drinks per day increased risk by 52 percent.


The researchers emphasized their findings did not prove cause and effect; however, they do support other work looking at alcohol consumption and A-fib.

If you enjoy red wine in moderation, you’ve got a choice to make: potentially run the risk of A-fib or potentially reduce blood pressure. If you have A-fib already, you might want to reconsider cutting alcohol intake to one or two drinks per week.

Alcohol, of course, is not the only factor in heart health. Doing as much as you can to protect your heart is recommended.

Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.