How does alcoholism affect the heart? Alcohol and heart disease.

What about wine and alcohol? 

Wine is a rich source of antioxidants, like other grape products. It also contains alcohol. Alcohol does raise HDL (good) cholesterol, and some studies have linked moderate wine consumption in countries like France and Italy to a lower incidence of heart disease. It is well known that alcohol should always be consumed in moderation and avoided during pregnancy. Perhaps the key to wine drinking is to consume wine only with meals. Even better, you may try diluting your wine with water, as is often done at Italian meals. The basic health rule is not to exceed one glass a day for women and two for men. Less research can be found on beer, but, again, a moderate amount may be beneficial. As with wine, if you choose to drink beer, do so with a meal. Drinking to excess may increase blood pressure and cause other health problems.
Recent reports about red wine show that it contains substances beyond the alcohol which have some extra benefits. A nondrinker can get those same benefits associated with red wine by eating grapes or raisins. It is the skin of the grapes (and raisins) that contains some of the antioxidants that seem to be responsible for the red wine effect.

This may be the reason why the French, even though their diet is high in animal fat, seem to have some protection against heart disease, protection not found in populations that eat similar amounts of animal fat but do not consume wine regularly. This is known as “the French paradox.” The effect of wine, as with that of any other food, should always be considered in the context of the entire eating pattern. Mediterranean countries, like France, include large amounts of fruits and vegetables in their diet.

If you drink alcohol, your best choice is a wine with an alcohol content of about 11 to 13 percent, rather than higher alcohol wines like sherry or port. Another good choice is beer, with an alcohol content of about 4 percent.

Is it true that the food I eat can interact with some of my medications? 

Yes, some foods interact with drugs, and they may require the adjustment of dosages or other precautions. A tragic reminder is the death a few years ago ofsome patients on antidepressant medications called MAO inhibitors. When they ate aged cheeses or drank aged wines in an English hospital, some of them died. What caused their deaths was a compound called tyramine innocuous to most which raises blood pressure and is usually changed to a totally harmless substance in the intestines. But these medications blocked the activity of the compounds that performed this function and permitted tyramine to enter the systems of these sick people at full strength. Fortunately MAO inhibitors are used rarely since new antidepressant medications have become available.

Another example is grapefruit and grapefruit juice, which can interact with some drugs used to treat cardiovascular disease. Some compounds present in grapefruit interfere with the way the liver deactivates certain drugs. Be sure to tell your doctor or health professional if you regularly eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice. Otherwise, because of the inability of the liver to dispose of the drug in the normal way, the drug level could remain too high in the body

Some vitamins may interact with other medications. For example, supplements or foods containing vitamin K may necessitate a change in anticoagulant medications. Foods may affect your drug needs and levels, so be sure to tellyour physician you are changing to this heart healthy diet. The dosages of some of your medications may need to be adjusted.

Is it true that a meal can kill? 

If your coronary arteries are clogged, and if you have a tendency to form an abnormal blood clot, a high animal fat meal combined with low fiber foods and refined carbohydrates can have consequences beyond the long range effects we have seen. It can actually cause the formation of a clot in your coronary arteries, already clogged by plaques, and block them, causing a heart attack. If you have had a diagnosis of heart disease, you must be extra careful to avoid this type of meal.

We knew a heart disease patient in his late sixties, a former tennis pro, who had badly clogged coronary arteries. He used to be a regular smoker and ate a typical American diet. He had been warned to be extra cautious so as to prevent the possibility of major trouble, yet he neglected to follow simple guidelines about food and smoking. One Sunday morning he failed to show up for a tennis match he had arranged at ten. He had not forgotten the match. He had stopped at a coffee shop on his way and eaten a fat laden breakfast. The meal caused a chain reaction that resulted in a blood clot forming in his coronary arteries that killed him.

Are there diets you can recommend? 

The American Heart Association (AHA) diets are based on the principles we have talked about, with the primary focus being to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) makes similar suggestions for dietary changes, so you may hear of an NCEP diet. AHA Step I Diet reduces saturated fat to 8 to 10 percent of total calories and a Step II Diet reduces saturated fat to less than 7 percent of total calories. If you are accustomed to a typical American diet, to adopt a Step I Diet, you would need to reduce saturated fat by about one third, and for a Step II Diet you would need to reduce it by about one half. But don’t forget: if you adopt a plant based diet and cut down high and medium fat animal products, you’ll be eating healthy without any complex calculations!

Alcohol's Effects On The Heart

Can I eat ethnic cuisines? 

No matter whether you prepare meals at home or you eat out, ethnic cooking is a great way to have an appealing meal that never makes you feel you are on a “diet,” and that offers tremendous variety. Choose Asian foods avoiding monosodium glutamate (MSG) like low animal fat Chinese, Japanese, and Indian; and low animalfat Greek, Italian, and Mexican foods . . . the list is almost endless. Remember that soy sauce can be high in sodium.

Always choose steamed and baked foods over fried; order tomatobased sauces over those prepared with butter and cream, or in Italian restaurants ask for olive oil; choose fish, tofu, and soup dishes at Asian restaurants; and be sure to ask in Mexican restaurants for beans prepared without animal fat.

Should I take more time for my meals? 

For centuries people, rich or poor, used to take the time to eat in a quiet environment. Dinner was an opportunity for a family to get together, to relax, perhaps to say a prayer.

In the modem world full of rush and stress, the time set aside for a peaceful dinner, prepared with love, has shrunk and often disappeared. A quickly defrosted, microwave heated, precooked dinner eaten in a hurry is not uncommon. What should be reserved for an occasional meal in a special situation has often become a daily routine, just as a fast food lunch has become the rule, rather than the exception, for many. There is a place for all of this, but a quiet meal, with no pressure what we call the meal ritual should be part of a healing and protective day for anyone, but even more so for someone with heart disease. This not only is important to allow you to prepare superprotective foods but is a key component of stress relief.

If you can devote some time to relaxation before your meals even a few minutes this will make your meal ritual even better.


Popular Posts

Where does Melanoma most often metastasize?

Oral(Mouth) Cancer: Symptoms, Bleeding, Treatment and Diagnose

Ejaculation and sexual life problems after prostate surgery

How to know if your ankle is broken? How is a broken ankle treated?

How painful is a bone marrow transplant for the donor

What are the most important side effects of taking female hormones?

What is the symptoms of a head concussion? Is concussion a brain injury?

How is a broken or cracked rib treated?

The most important difference between Hodgkin's disease and non-hodgkin's lymphoma

Common Hand Injuries: Treatment for swollen hand due to injury