Is alcohol good for the heart? Well yes, and no. One plus for alcohol in moderation is the well-established finding that it increases HDL (good) cholesterol.
Red wine, in particular, may have additional benefits as its high in proanthocyanidins, the antioxidants found in grapes and berries. Most reviews conclude there is a clear risk reduction from light or moderate drinking with the positive benefit mainly for red wine, high in resveratrol.
So, it appears that drinking lightly, less than a drink a day, is good for you. But that’s where the trick comes in – you need to stick to LIGHTLY.
Although some forms of alcohol (such as stout or red wine) do deliver a few nutrients, alcohol itself is a potent destroyer of these same nutrients. It also affects your nutrient intake by disturbing the digestion and absorption of food, and suppressing appetite.
Having alcohol with a meal also reduces the amount of zinc and iron you absorb from your food. There is a definite link between moderate to heavy alcohol consumption and increased blood pressure, incidence of strokes and the risk of diabetes.
A number of studies have shown that there is an especially strong relationship between alcohol consumption and cancers of the breast, colorectum, liver, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx and oesophagus and a suspected link for cancers of the pancreas and lung. So, if you want to drink (especially during the holiday season)
Patrick Holford suggests that you do so only moderately, sticking to less than a drink a day and choosing organic, sulfite-free wines and champagne when you can.