Cut back on alcohol to protect your heart

We can protect our arteries from toxic substances, but the trick is knowing how to combat their harmful effects. You may not be able to change, for example, the air you breathe when you step outside but there are many things you can do, like cut down on alcohol.

Cut back on alcohol to protect your heart

Inside information on alcohol units

In North America, guidelines define moderate drinking as no more than one serving per day if you're a woman (or up to seven per week), and no more than two per day for a man (up to 14 per week). In Canada, the standard drink includes 13.6 grams of pure alcohol, while an American standard drink includes 14 grams. A standard drink is:

  • 142 ml (5 oz) of wine
  • 340 ml (12 oz) of regular-strength beer
  • 42.6 ml (1.5 oz ) of hard liquor

Eliminate

  • Drinking a glass or two of red wine every few days can provide you with some protection against cardiovascular disease — but don't overdo it, since drinking too much will increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
  • Drinking has been on a slight upward trend in North America over the past decade and a half, according to both Statistics Canada and the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
  • It's easy to underestimate how much you're drinking because bars and restaurants often serve drinks that exceed the standard sizes.
  • For example — you now know the standard servings across both countries (above), but a pint of beer, which is 568 millilitres (20 fluid ounces) in Canada; 473 millilitres (16 fluid ounces) in the United States, easily surpasses the standard drink size.
  • And of course, most bars and restaurants offer doubles of hard liquor.
  • Mixed cocktails may have multiple types of liquor in them, thus resulting in a higher amount of pure alcohol.
  • Some drinks, both beer and hard liquor, come in higher strengths of alcohol content; this will be noted on menus and bottles.
  • Remember this info the next time you order drinks, or buy them for home consumption. Or better still, remove alcohol from your weekly diet and only enjoy it occasionally as part of a celebration.
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