Did you know that beer can help your heart? Well, it’s true! ‘Tis the season for grilling and chilling, and, as it turns out, that might not be such a bad thing after all. In fact, according to research, picking up your wine glass or beer mug may have a very beneficial effect on your health. Especially when it comes to your risk of contracting certain circulatory conditions, including Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD.)
How Wine and Beer Help Your Heart
Now, this information isn’t entirely new. We’ve all heard rumbles about how red wine—in moderation—is good for your heart. So what’s exciting about this research out of Cambridge and University College London (UCL)?
For one thing, the researchers are giving us updated quantities. Now, they recommend drinking about 1.5 bottles of wine each week, or seven beers. But that’s not all the research suggests. As it turns out, drinking moderate amounts of alcohol is actually better than not drinking at all.
How did they reach this conclusion? Researchers analyzed data from close to 2 million United Kingdom residents. They discovered that avoiding alcohol and drinking a lot gave you a higher risk for seven different heart conditions. And those conditions include PAD, heart attacks and strokes.
Lead researcher Steven Bell explained that moderate alcohol intake reduces inflammation while boosting good cholesterol levels. Plus, moderate drinking can be social. And connecting with peers improves your overall well-being, including your heart health.
The Impact of Alcohol Avoidance
Now, researchers discovered the benefits of moderate drinking. But, they also found problems with avoiding alcohol completely. In fact, as compared to moderate drinkers, people with zero alcohol intake were more likely to experience angina, heart attacks, sudden coronary death, heart failure, strokes due to lack of blood flow, abdominal aneurysms and peripheral arterial disease.
There was, however, a silver-lining for sober people: not-drinking had no impact on the risk of experiencing cardiac arrest or strokes unrelated to blood flow problems. And, for those who have good reason to avoid alcohol, the researchers noted that alcohol isn’t the only path to decreased risk of heart problems. If you have a good reason not to drink (and there are plenty) you can improve your heart health and decrease your risk of disease with many other lifestyle factors, including diet and exercise. But, if you’re all about moderate, social drinking, take “heart” in these findings, which both Harvard Medical School and John Hopkins Public School of Health have signed off on. And check out these findings about exercise, PAD, and your sedentary or “down” time.
Exercise Therapy for PAD
Drinking beer to help your heart is one way to protect your blood flow. But if you already have PAD, your doctor may recommend a walking-workout to reduce cramping and improve your blood flow. On its own, the benefits of walking can improve your PAD symptoms. But, according to new research, reducing your sedentary time can maximize those results.
According to findings in the Annals of Palliative Medicine, spending less time lying around made exercise more effective for PAD patients. In fact, the less sedentary time recorded by patients, the longer they were able to walk on treadmills (without pain) at the end of the 12-week study period.
What does that mean for you? Go ahead and grab that beer to help your heart. But, instead of sitting down to sip your tall frosty, why not take a little walk around your yard while you do so? Then, if you have any warning signs of PAD, be sure to make an immediate appointment with our Houston area vein and arterial specialists!
Sources: British Medical Journal (BMJ)