According to a study out of Australia, choosing the wrong type of alcohol could make your heart skip a beat.
In fact, while past research has demonstrated a link between drinking too much and the risk of developing atrial fibrillation, researchers at the University of Adelaide say one type of alcohol is safer for your heart than others if you aim is to avoid the heart condition
In other words, not all alcohol is created equal when it comes to your heart.
The dangers of atrial fibrillation and alcohol
What is atrial fibrillation (AFib)? And why should you be taking steps to prevent the condition from hitting your heart?
Well, if you haven’t heard of it before, here are the most important things to be aware of…
AFib is basically an irregular or rapid heartbeat.
If you suffer from the heart problem, your symptoms may include:
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
And while just having those symptoms would be bad enough, it gets worse.
AFib also raises your risk of much more dangerous issues in the future, including stroke and heart failure. And it may even affect your brain health, leading to cognitive and memory problems.
Choose your drink wisely
Clearly, it’s important to protect your heart from the condition to protect your brain and your life.
The best bet is to avoid alcohol altogether. But that’s not always the easier choice.
That’s why those Australian researchers suggest not only limiting your alcohol consumption but also sticking to the type they found carried the least risk.
The researchers used data from the UK Biobank, a large-scale research database that holds the health information for half a million volunteers. And they came to two important conclusions:
- Drinking less than six drinks a week is associated with the lowest risk of developing AFib.
- Beer and cider consumption was associated with a greater risk of AFib, compared to red wine and white wine consumption
“Our findings suggest that responsible consumption of alcohol up to six drinks per week is safe in terms of minimizing your risk of atrial fibrillation,” said lead author Samuel Tu from the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders. “For those currently consuming alcohol, drinking red or white wine could potentially be a safer alternative to other types of alcoholic beverages.”
And this advice goes whether you’re male or female — six drinks a week only and stick to wine, not beer.
However, if you’re already living with a heart rhythm condition, the recommendation is different and very straightforward: cut down or, better, eliminate alcohol completely to reduce your symptoms.
More ways to keep your heart rhythm in check
I have to say, I’m not that surprised that red wine was considered one of the safer options. The research didn’t dive into it, but I can’t help but wonder if it has anything to do with resveratrol — the compound in the skin of grapes that’s been researched for decades for its heart and healthy aging benefits.
But if you prefer the occasional drink, knowing this information can be part of your plan to avoid AFib. In addition to limiting your alcohol and giving up that beer in favor of wine, you can also help guard your heart against atrial fibrillation by:
- Maintaining healthy blood pressure. People with high blood pressure ara more than 1.5 times likely to develop AFib than someone with normal BP.
- Practicing yoga to balance your nervous system, which controls your heart rate.
- Snacking on nuts a couple of times a week.
- Walking just 30 minutes per day.
- Indulging your sweet tooth with cocoa.
- Getting plenty of omega-3s in your diet.
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Wine is safer than beer for minimizing risk of heart condition — Medical Xpress