Q: Are we supposed to drink wine or not? Some studies say drink a glass of red wine every day, some studies say drinking any alcohol causes cancer. It is confusing!
A: You are so right. There are lots of studies suggesting the benefits of red wine and alcohol. What is important to keep in mind is that most of these studies are population based meaning that the real cause and effect is not definitely known. By the same standards, we have evidence of the dangers of alcohol, too.
We do know that antioxidants seem to play a role in keeping our bodies healthier, but there are plenty of ways to get antioxidants without drinking.
I, myself, am not a teetotaler. If you consume alcohol, keep your consumption to one drink a night if you are female and no more than two per night if you are male. If you are not currently a drinker, I would not recommend that you start consuming alcohol just because of the reported health benefits.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.