ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
CANCER
Healthy Behaviors Slow Functional Decline After Cancer
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Study Cites Gains in Gall Bladder Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
Simpler Sleep Apnea Treatment Seems Effective, Affordable
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
DIABETES
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
DIET, NUTRITION
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
To Feel Better, Low-Fat Diet May Be Best
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gene Mutation May Cause Some Cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Heavy Traffic Can Be Heartbreaking
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
EYE CARE, VISION
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
FITNESS
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
The Unmedicated Mind
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
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Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not

(HealthDay News) -- Just about every month -- if not every week -- a new study emerges touting the health benefits to be gained from a daily glass of wine or a pint of dark beer.

The benefits related to cardiovascular health have become well-known. A study released in mid-July, for instance, found that moderate alcohol consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in women by increasing the amount of "good" cholesterol in the bloodstream and reducing blood sugar levels.

But other studies have linked a daily drink, most often wine, to reduced risk of dementia, bone loss and physical disabilities related to old age. Wine also has been found to increase life expectancy and provide potential protection against some forms of cancer, including esophageal cancer and lymphoma.

But don't invest in that case of Pinot noir just yet.

Experts with the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association say that though these studies do show some benefits to moderate drinking, the health risks from alcohol consumption far outweigh the potential rewards.

Drinking any alcohol at all is known to increase your risk for contracting a number of types of cancer, said Susan Gapstur, vice president of epidemiology for the American Cancer Society. These include cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon/rectum and breast.

"At the end of the day, if you are at very high risk for cancer, you might want to limit your alcohol consumption even further," Gapstur said. "It's a lifestyle modification you can make, and we don't have as many lifestyle modifications for preventing cancer as we do for coronary heart disease."

There also are other health risks from moderate drinking, including liver damage and accidents caused by impaired reflexes, said Dr. Jennifer Mieres, director of nuclear cardiology at the New York University School of Medicine and an American Heart Association spokeswoman.

The health benefits from drinking generally are related to the antioxidants and anti-inflammatories found in red wines and dark beers, Mieres said, but those substances can be found in a number of different fruits and vegetables.

"When it comes to disease prevention, you're better off changing your diet to include fruits and vegetables and get your antioxidants and anti-inflammatories from natural sources," she said.

For example, people can get resveratrol -- the antioxidant found in red wine that's believed to provide most of the drink's health benefits -- from drinking grape juice just as well as from drinking wine, Mieres said.

"For people that don't drink, not drinking is important," Mieres said. "You can get the same benefits of drinking from leading a heart-healthy lifestyle. To me, it's not worth the risk to start drinking. But for people who enjoy a glass of red wine or enjoy drinking, the key is to stick to the definition of moderation," she said.

Moderate drinking is defined as one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. What counts as one drink are:

* 12 ounces of regular beer or wine cooler
* 8 ounces of malt liquor
* 5 ounces of wine
* 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor

Drinking anything more than that on a daily basis is known to lead to a host of health problems that can reduce your life expectancy, Mieres and Gapstur said.

"I think the take-home message is, if you don't drink, don't start to help protect yourself from coronary heart disease because there are so many other things you can do," Gapstur said. "If you already drink, you might want to limit your consumption."

Though the studies touting the positive health effects of alcohol are scientifically accurate, they also appear to play into people's desires for quick fixes to complex problems, Mieres said.

"To prevent heart disease, 50 percent of the work has to come from you," she said. "Prevention is a big piece, and you have to be accountable. You have to make lifestyle changes, and that's very tough to do. People look for easy ways to get heart-healthy benefits, and drinking is an easy way to do that. It's a known human tendency: Let's find an easy way out that doesn't involve a lot of thought or work.

SOURCES: Susan Gapstur, Ph.D., M.P.H., vice president, epidemiology, American Cancer Society; Jennifer Mieres, M.D., associate professor and director, nuclear cardiology, New York University School of Medicine, New York City Published on: October 18, 2009