ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
Almost Half of Adults Will Develop Knee Osteoarthritis by 85
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
CANCER
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
CAREGIVING
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Exercise During Pregnancy May Help Baby
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Holistic Dentistry-My View
DIABETES
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Imagine Food Aromas That Prevent Overeating
To Feel Better, Low-Fat Diet May Be Best
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Warmer-Than-Average Temperatures Raise Migraine Risk
Think You Are Lead-Free? Check Your Soil
Gene Explains How High-Fructose Diets Lead to Insulin Resistance
EYE CARE, VISION
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
FITNESS
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
The Yearly Flu Shot Debate
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
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
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
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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