Harvard Women's Health Watch

One drink a day might prevent a stroke-but don't overdo it

Having a glass of wine with dinner might help you avoid a stroke, but pouring a couple more could have the opposite effect, according to a study reported in the International Journal of Cardiology. Researchers analyzed the results of 27 studies from around the world (11 of them in the United States), which included a total of 1.4 million participants. People in the study who were light drinkers—having one drink per day—had a lower risk of strokes and death from strokes compared with those who didn't drink at all.

However, heavier drinkers—those who imbibed about three drinks or more a day—increased their stroke risk. The authors say heavy alcohol intake may contribute to stroke by raising blood pressure and by encouraging the development and growth of blood clots that can block blood vessels supplying the brain. The current recommendation for women is to have no more than one drink a day, but check with your doctor to make sure it's healthy for you to drink.

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