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Top 5 Foods for a Heart Healthy Diet

        Health | Heart

3
Alcohol
This group of friends celebrates healthy living by hitting the local pub.
This group of friends celebrates healthy living by hitting the local pub.
Romilly Lockyer/Getty Images

Yes, you read that right. Drinking alcohol may actually help your heart -- as long as it's consumed in moderation. You can't go out and pound a case of beer before the football game with your tailgating buddies and claim you're doing your heart a favor. Doing keg stands and knocking back shots of Jagermeister won't land you on the cover of Heart-Healthy Living magazine. What's the secret here? For one, alcohol makes your blood less likely to clot. Clotting is simply a blob of thickened blood. It's good when stopping a bleeding wound, not so much inside your arteries. Alcohol also helps to boost your good cholesterol level which, in turn, knocks down something called C-reactive protein. This stuff is a sign that your arteries may be inflamed, which can lead to heart disease.

The Mayo Clinic says that consuming one or two drinks per day could reduce your risk of heart disease, but they caution against the dangers of over-imbibing. For men, the magic number is two drinks. Sorry ladies, but you should only have one of the following:

  • 12 ounce beer
  • 5 ounce glass of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor

If you really want to do your body a favor, try to stick with red wine. In addition to the benefits to your heart, it also raises your good cholesterol and lowers your bad cholesterol. If you already drink alcohol, do so in moderation so it can be good for your heart. If you don't then you shouldn't start now -- alcohol is also full of empty calories and has been linked to cancer.