ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Get in Step With Summer Foot Care
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
CANCER
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Tanning Beds Shown To Raise Cancer Risk, Study Says
CAREGIVING
Tainted China Formula Caused High Rate of Kidney Stones in Kids
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
Bariatric Surgery Centers Don't Deliver Better Outcomes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Health Tip: After Liposuction
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
DIABETES
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
DIET, NUTRITION
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Oregano Shown to be the Most Powerful Culinary Herb
TV Food Ads Promote Bad Diets
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Greenhouse Gases Hazardous to Your Health
Home Renovations by Affluent Families Can Unleash Lead Threat
Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
EYE CARE, VISION
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
FITNESS
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
It Pays to Eat Less as You Age
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
MEN'S HEALTH
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
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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