Recent Blog Articles

Heart Health

Alcohol after a heart attack

May 1, 2011

Q. My husband was just released from the hospital after a mild heart attack. He's never been much of a drinker, but now he wants to have wine with dinner every night. We've both heard that wine is good for the heart, but I'm worried that it may not be safe so soon after a heart attack. I hope you can either reassure me or restrain my husband.

A. Many, many medical studies have linked alcohol to a reduced risk of heart attacks, particularly in men over 60 and others at heightened risk. Although red wine gets most of the praise, white wine, beer, and liquor have similar effects, probably because all boost levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol to a similar degree. But if the type of alcohol doesn't seem to matter, the amount does, since heavy drinking takes a toll on the heart and circulation, along with the liver and other organs. For men, the best "dose" is one to two drinks a day, counting 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1½ ounces of liquor as one drink. And in case you're interested in joining your husband, women are best advised to limit themselves to one drink a day.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.