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By the way, doctor: Is it a health mistake not to drink?

Updated: March 01, 2006

Is it a health mistake not to drink?

Q. I started drinking half a glass of red wine in the early evening, particularly Pinot Noir since it's said to have a higher than normal concentration of resveratrol, generally adding blueberry juice to fill the glass. But I had to stop because I didn't like the wine's effect on me — slight problems with motor coordination, grogginess, and sleepiness. Should I be worried that so little alcohol had such a strong effect on me? Am I making a mistake by abandoning the use of alcohol, given its reputed health benefits?

A. Drinking moderate amounts of any type of alcoholic beverage — one drink a day for women, and up to two a day for men — does seem to lower the risk for heart disease and the most common type of stroke. Some doctors say that certain alcoholic drinks — red wine often comes up — are more heart-healthy than others because they contain more antioxidants like the resveratrol you mentioned. I'm not convinced, though, that any one type of alcohol-containing drink is superior to the others.

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