ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
Barefoot Lifestyle Has Its Dangers
CANCER
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
Study Cites Gains in Gall Bladder Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
DIABETES
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
Eating Free Range
Low Vitamin A, C Intake Tied to Asthma Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pregnant Rural Women More at Risk
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
Short-Term Air Pollution Exposure May Damage DNA
EYE CARE, VISION
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
FITNESS
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Play Creatively as a Kid, Be a Healthier Adult
Vitamin D Best Taken With Largest Meal of Day, Study Finds
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
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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