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Getting to the Heart of a Healthy Diet: Alcohol

Drinking large amounts of alcohol is bad for your health. But some alcohol may have benefits. Adults who drink should do so in moderation.

Before drinking alcohol:

Here's Why:

Researchers think that some alcohol may protect the heart. People who drink limited amounts may have:

There are also many health problems linked to alcohol. Most of these happen when a person drinks heavily. These are:

Here's How:

Drink alcohol in moderation. This means no more than 1 drink per day for women and 1 to 2 drinks per day for men. One drink is:

People who choose not to drink are not missing out. In fact, you should think about other choices before picking up the bottle. You can get some of these benefits from fruits and vegetables. Regular exercise also raises HDL levels.


American Heart Association

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence


Dietitians of Canada

Health Canada


Alcoholic beverages and cardiovascular disease. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Alcohol-and-Heart-Disease_UCM_305173_Article.jsp. Updated January 12, 2015. Accessed February 7, 2020.

Dietary considerations for cardiovascular disease risk reduction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/prevention/dietary-considerations-for-cardiovascular-disease-risk-reduction. Updated December 11, 2019. Accessed February 7, 2020.

Last reviewed November 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN  Last Updated: 2/3/2021