Ina Garten Has Eaten This Same Breakfast 'Every Single Day for 10 Years'

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This article originally appeared on People.com. 

Ina Garten is constantly testing out new recipes for cookbooks like her latest, Cooking for Jeffrey, but there is one meal that remains constant.

“I’ve had the same thing for breakfast every single day for ten years: coffee and McCann’s quick-cooking Irish oatmeal,” the Barefoot Contessa star tells Bon Appetit for their “Grocery List” series. Garten says she adds “lots of salt” because “I don’t want it to taste like wallpaper paste.”

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Other staples in the Garten household include “a bowl of lemons on the counter (and other citrus), butter, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and chocolate,” she says. There are also some “forbidden” items on her grocery list like Tate’s chocolate chip cookies and vanilla Häagen-Dazs ice cream.

Though she’s not opposed to picking up pre-made dinners on weekdays, the weekend is when Garten will really spend time cooking at home after her husband Jeffrey has returned from his job at Yale University. On a recent weekend, the Food Network host made a skillet lemon chicken, roasted broccoli and vanilla rum panna cotta on one night, and pasta e fagioli the other night.

RELATED: 16 Oatmeal Dessert Recipes That Satisfy

“I always have soup in the freezer that’s hearty enough to be a meal, like Tuscan white bean, split pea, cauliflower, or Loaves & Fishes‘ tortellini en brodo,” she says.

Garten is repetitive in her sweets as well. “While we watch TV, we always have granola for dessert,” she says. “A little strawberry or plain yogurt, fruit that’s in season, and Bola granola. I buy granola because unless you can make something that’s better than what you’d buy, there’s no point in spending the time!”

See more of Garten’s grocery list (hand-written notes and all!) on Bon Appetit.

Source: Nutrition

These Easy Tweaks Will Make Your Coffee Healthier

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Here’s a reason to really enjoy your morning cup of joe: it practically qualifies as a health food these days. Coffee can improve your mood, jumpstart your metabolism, boost your workout, and help you focus, among other amazing benefits suggested by recent research.

Yet you won’t score these health rewards unless you steer clear of certain bad habits when it comes to preparing and sipping your favorite brew. Some coffee-prep practices strip the beans of their high levels of micronutrients like polyphenols, a type of antioxidant thought to help prevent heart disease and other conditions. And ordering beverages loaded with dairy and sugar can turn this naturally low-calorie beverage into a delivery system for fat and calories.

To get the most from your coffee, make sure you’re not committing any of the mistakes called out by Bob Arnot, MD in his new book, The Coffee Lover’s Diet: Change Your Coffee…Change Your Life ($27; amazon.com). With Arnot’s advice in mind, here’s the right way to prepare and savor your brew.

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Cut back on sugar 

Coffee and sugar have always been a popular pairing. Sprinkling in the sweet stuff won’t take away from coffee’s polyphenol level, but it can detract from the healthfulness of the drink thanks to the extra calories (16 per sugar packet) and the way refined sugar messes with your blood-sugar levels. If you need sugar because your coffee tastes too bitter, try a brew made from naturally sweeter beans.

Go easy on the cream

Coffee with cream is another delicious duo. Two tablespoons of heavy cream packs about 100 calories; the same amount of half-and-half has 38. These numbers may not seem like much, but if you drink a few cups or more a day, it adds up. Many people mask the bitterness of their coffee with cream, so save yourself the calories and pick a lighter roast, or stick to low-fat milk only. Speaking of milk and cream, try to make smoothie-like blended coffee drinks, which can have hundreds of calories each, an occasional splurge.

RELATED: Big Perks: Coffee’s Health Benefits

Drink lighter-roast brews

“Superdark roasts, swirled with cream and sugar to cover their burnt-wood taste, are the coffee equivalent of soggy green beans that have been cooked all-day with a fatty ham hock or a slice of bacon,” writes Arnot. Lighter roasts may take some getting used to, but they can be just as flavorful and are much higher in polyphenols. If you can’t give up the dark stuff, roast the beans yourself at a temperature no higher than 430 degrees This creates that bold, dark flavor yet retains a decent level of polyphenols.

Buy higher-quality beans

One way to know if your coffee is healthy is to evaluate the taste: healthier coffee tastes better. To get the good-for-you kind, Arnot suggests buying premium coffees grown on farms with excellent cultivation practices. Stick to farms located at high altitudes close to the equator in countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Columbia and Brazil. African coffees tend to be lighter, whereas South American coffees are generally fuller-bodied. 

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Wash the coffee maker after each use

You wash your pans after cooking with them, right? If you didn’t, the next dish you prepared in them wouldn’t taste right. The same principle goes for your coffee equipment. Rinsing coffee machines and makers with vinegar and hot water, suggests Arnot, will make your next brew more robust and flavorful.

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Make coffee with fresh, ripe beans

Coffee is at its best between two days and two weeks after the beans are roasted. Arnot recommends buying small bags from local roasters and using them within three to four days—storing them not in your fridge but in an opaque, airtight container kept away from sunlight to preserve freshness. Ask for coffee packed in nitrogen-flushed bags; this prevents oxidation and help preserve the taste of the beans for a few months before you’re ready to roast.

Grind the beans just right

If the beans are ground too small, you’ll get bitter-tasting coffee. Grind them too coarsely, however, and the coffee will taste weak—not to mention be depleted ofpolyphenols. Arnot recommends a medium-level coarseness, whether you’re grinding it yourself or having someone behind a counter do it for you.

Source: Nutrition

How to Eat Healthier According to Whole Foods' CEO

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This article originally appeared in Fortune.com. 

Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO John Mackey says learning to eat healthy is a lot like getting into a new gym routine: both require training.

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Mackey, speaking at Fortune‘s Brainstorm Health conference in San Diego, said both involve changing well-established patterns. He gave the example of going out for a run or starting a yoga session for the first time. After a single session, your body hurts and you don’t want to do it again. Eating healthy requires fighting through similar discomfort.

“That’s how it is with food. ‘I tried kale, I didn’t like it,’” said Mackey. “Just like you need to get your body in shape for exercise, you have to get your palate in shape. You have to train it.” Mackey went on to say that he estimates it takes 10 to 15 experiences with a new food to train your palate to learn to like it. “I like everything now and it is just because I taught myself to like it. You might as well re-educate yourself to enjoy the healthiest foods in the world.”

RELATED: 4 Ridiculously Easy Diet Changes to Help Kickstart Your Weight Loss

Mackey, a vegan who travels with his own rice cooker, is an executive that loves to talk about healthy food. His appearance at Brainstorm Health comes just after the publication of his new book The Whole Foods Diet: The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longevity, which was published last month. In that book, he advocates for a diet that leans on whole foods (i.e. no processed foods) and as much plants as possible. That’s a similar stance to the famous quote from New York Times author Michael Pollen: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Whole Foods now generates nearly $16 billion in revenue annually thanks to Mackey’s push to sell healthier foods, including many organic brands, to consumers. But with success comes copycats: many other retailers, including Kroger kr and Walmart wmt , have entrenched into Whole Food’s turf and put pressure on prices in the process. At Whole Foods, same-store sales decreased by 2.5% in the most recent year as the retailer admits that consumers have more options for how and where they want to buy their food than ever before.

Last month, activist investor Jana Partners disclosed it took a 9% stake in Whole Foods and said it would push for the company to speed up a turnaround plan and consider selling itself. Just a few weeks later, it was reported that privately-held Albertsons was mulling a takeover.

RELATED: Jessica Biel Says This Diet Choice Keeps Her Digestive System in Check 

Mackey, speaking to Fortune reporter Beth Kowitt at Brainstorm, wouldn’t say much about the activism or future plans as Whole Foods is reporting earnings next week and is in a quiet period. He did admit that competition is tough due to all the copycats that Whole Foods is combating, but also pointed out that rivals like Kroger are feeling the squeeze in sales as well.

Kowitt asked Mackey to also weigh in on why the United States population continues to face so many health problems, despite the recent push to eat healthier foods. “There’s tremendous misinformation about what a health diet is,” Mackey responded. As an example, he said that organic potato chips are an item that could be perceived as healthy, but they aren’t. A consumer would be better off eating a non-organic real potato rather than processed organic chips.

The disconnect, he explained, is tied to our biology. We crave calorie-dense foods because of how humans evolved. For many years, those foods packed with sugar and fat were scarce. Now they aren’t, but we still want them.

Whole Foods, of course, like all retailers sells a lot of healthy foods—but also some items that aren’t so good for us. With 71% of Americans overweight and over a third considered obese, that might send a mixed message considering Mackey’s personal plea for Americans to eat healthier. But he points out selling a variety of foods and drinks (including some that aren’t healthy) is good business.

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“My first store, before Whole Foods Market, was called Safer Way,” he said. It was vegetarian, sold no alcohol and had no foods with sugar or refined grains. “It was very pure and it didn’t do business.” After relocating that store and starting to sell coffee, beer, and meats, it was a natural food store that sold exceptionally well. While Mackey would prefer to stick to the healthier stuff, he says customers need to vote out the bad stuff with their dollars.

“You may have the highest ideals in the world, you try to educate people…but ultimately you need to sell what people want to buy or you don’t have a business,” Mackey said.

Source: Nutrition

The Rx Drug That Interferes With the Healthy Goodness of Whole Grains

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Kudos if you’ve already incorporated whole grains into your regular diet: Among other benefits, eating more of these fibrous foods has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. One reason may be because whole grains are good sources of lignans, antioxidant-rich compounds also found in seeds, legumes, and other plant sources.

But if you’ve taken an antibiotic recently, you may not be benefiting from all the good-for-you nutrients that whole grains can provide. According to a recent study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, antibiotic use was associated with lower levels of enterolignans—the metabolized form of lignans—in the body.

The study suggests that antibiotic medications may disrupt bacteria in the gut, preventing it from converting plant lignans into this beneficial form. Enterolingans have a chemical structure similar to estrogen, and have been shown to be protective against the development of breast cancer.

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To examine these potential effects, researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark examined diet questionnaires, blood samples, and prescription drug records from more than 2,200 Danes who developed cancer from 1996 to 2009. They found a significant correlation between antibiotic use and lower enterolignan concentrations in the blood, especially among women.

Women who had used antibiotics up to three months before submitting a blood sample had enterolignan concentrations as much as 40% lower than those who hadn’t used the drugs, while men on antibiotics had concentrations up to 12% lower. Even up to a year later after taking antibiotics, levels remained significantly lower than normal for both men and women.

To confirm their findings, the researchers also conducted a controlled study on pigs, published in the Journal of Proteome Research. In that experiment, blood concentrations of enterolignans were 37% lower in pigs given antibiotics, compared to those who weren’t.

RELATED: 9 Probiotic Foods That Aren’t Yogurt

The study authors say that this is the first time an animal experiment has confirmed a direct link between enterolignan concentration and antibiotic treatment. They also say their research on humans is the first to note a difference between men and women.

Antibiotics’ effects may extend beyond plant lignans, as well: There are plenty of other dietary compounds that rely on gut bacteria to convert them into useful forms in the body, the authors point out. It’s likely that these nutrients could be similarly compromised by bacteria-disrupting antibiotics, they write in their paper.

Emeran Mayer, MD, a gastroenterologist at UCLA Health, says the new findings “confirm and expand what we currently know about the detrimental effect of antibiotics on the health of the gut microbiome, and of our own health.” (Dr. Mayer, author of The Mind-Gut Connection, was not involved in the new research.)

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The fact that antibiotics had such a long-term effect on the ability of microbes to metabolize lignans is particularly interesting, Dr. Mayer says. “Even though the composition of the gut microbiome may return to pretreatment levels, their function appears to be compromised for much longer,” he adds.

Unnecessary use of antibiotics is strongly discouraged by scientists—not only because of growing concerns over antibiotic resistance, but also because it appears to reduce microbial diversity in the gut. Dr. Mayer believes that the latter is linked to the rise of autoimmune diseases; colon, prostate, and breast cancer; and the metabolic syndrome in the developed world.

He adds that antibiotics aren’t just overprescribed by doctors, but that they’re also given to farm animals, fish, and poultry that are raised for food. “Consumers should be aware of the contamination of all our mass produced food supply with antibiotics,” says Dr. Mayer, “and should greatly reduce therapeutic consumption of antibiotics whenever possible.”

In other words, this study suggests yet another reason not to bug your doctor for a quick-fix prescription when you might not need one—and to shop for antibiotic-free meat and fish whenever you can. It’s good for your gut, and may help you get the most out of your healthy whole-grain habit, too.

Source: Nutrition

Start Saving. Your Smashed Avocado on Toast Is About to Get Even More Expensive

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This article originally appeared on Time.com. 

Your avocado on toast or guacamole is about to get a lot pricier, due to falling supply and rocketing demand for the trendy fruit.

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Prices for avocados have hit an all-time high as major producers have seen smaller harvests this year, meanwhile the fruit’s popularity continues to grow worldwide, Bloomberg reports.

Heatwaves and drought mean that California’s avocado production is expected to fall by 44%, while disastrous flooding in Peru’s avocado-growing south has also led to a downgrade in this year’s crop forecast, according to the BBC. Mexico, where 82% of America’s avocados come from, has also experienced a growers’ strike that could make matters worse.

RELATED: Why Researchers Recommend Eating Avocado Every Day (Yay!)

According to Bloomberg data, Hass avocados from Mexico’s major wholesale producer are now selling for more than double last year’s price. The Hass and Fuerte varieties comprise 95% of avocados consumed in the U.S.

Dwindling supply isn’t the also cause of the price hike, however. While the U.S. is the largest consumer and importer of avocados — shipping 1.76 billion pounds of avocados from Mexico in 2015 from 24 million pounds in 2000 — demand for the fruit in other places such as China is also surging.

Obsession with the avocado was underscored by the opening of the world’s first all-avocado restaurant in Brooklyn last month.

[Bloomberg, BBC]

Source: Nutrition

The Healthiest Sandwich Choices at Panera Bread

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This article originally appeared on CookingLight.com. 

With everything from paninis to flatbread sandwiches, Panera’s menu plenty of tasty choices. Here’s the catch—because of high-fat and high-sodium ingredients, a whole-sized sandwich is far too often a poor choice. If you downsize to a half sandwich, nutrition will stay in check, and with healthy additions such as an apple, baked potato crisps, or half salad, you can have a balanced meal.

To keep fat in check, choose sandwiches made with lean proteins such as roasted turkey and tuna, or go meatless and pile on the veggies. If you crave the creaminess of cheese or mayo, try substituting avocado, which is high in healthy fats but much lower in sodium. Lastly, the more basic the bread, the better—whole grain, sourdough, and the sprouted grain bagel “flat” are all nutritionally solid options.

Below you’ll find our top sandwich and side choices, but we encourage you to read Panera’s full nutrition information (available online) before your next visit.

Healthiest Sandwich Picks at Panera

Tuna Salad Sandwich on Honey Wheat (Half)
Cal: 260 Fat: 8g Sat Fat: 2g Sodium: 550mg Sugars: 6g

Roasted Turkey & Avocado BLT on Sourdough (Half)
Cal: 270 Fat: 12g Sat Fat: 2g Sodium: 470mg Sugars: 1g

Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich on Tomato Basil (Half) 
Cal: 280 Fat: 6g Sat Fat: 1.5g Sodium: 700mg Sugars: 10g

Roasted Turkey & Caramelized Kale (Half)
Cal: 290 Fat: 11g Sat Fat: 3g Sodium: 640mg Sugars: 2g

Smart Sides:

Half Seasonal Greens Salad (No Vinaigrette)
Cal: 90 Fat: 6g Sat Fat: 1g Sodium: 75mg Sugars: 7g

Fat Free Poppyseed Dressing (Half-Portion)
Cal: 15 Fat: 0g Sat Fat: 0g Sodium: 45mg Sugars: 2g

1 Apple
 Cal: 80 Fat: 0g Sat Fat: 0g Sodium: 21mg Sugars: 15g

Panera Baked Crisps (1 Bag)
Cal: 130 Fat: 2.5g Sat Fat: 0.5g Sodium: 150mg Sugars: 1g

 

 

Source: Nutrition

Avocado Chocolate Bars Have Finally Arrived

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This article originally appeared on FoodandWine.com. 

Sure, maybe Avocado has been a wee bit overexposed. It’s on toast and in smoothies. There are entire restaurants dedicated to serving only avocado. But it's still damn good. And starting today, you can now get avocado in your chocolate.

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You can thank Compartés for the creation, a gourmet chocolate shop which produces colorful, artistic designs for their line of bars in flavors ranging from potato chip to birthday cake. They’re best known for their Rosé chocolate bar, which came out last summer.

RELATED: Why Researchers Recommend Eating Avocado Every Day (Yay!)

Compartés teamed up with the California Avocado Commission to create their newest chocolate concoction, so you can rest assured the avocados in your artisan chocolate are not only locally sourced from farmer’s markets, but they’re both organic and sustainably farmed.

Trying what we think sounds like a divine combination will cost you though: Each bar retails for $10.

But if you can get all the well-known health benefits of avocados while indulging in one of the best comfort foods out there, it might just be worth it.

Source: Nutrition

Coca-Cola Is Adding Fiber to Coke. Is That Even Helpful?

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When I heard about Coca-Cola Plus, a zero-calorie Coke with added fiber, I thought it was an April Fool’s joke I somehow missed. Especially when the company claimed this ridiculous product is meant for a "health-conscious consumer." No sugarcoating here: Adding fiber to soda of any kind, regular or diet, doesn’t make it healthy.

According to Coca-Cola, one Coke Plus a day—which is currently available only in Japan—can help "suppress fat absorption" and "moderate the levels of triglycerides in the blood." Even if a double-blind study comparing Coke Plus to a placebo supported these claims, I still wouldn’t recommend the soda.

First of all, the added fiber is bundled with an artificial sweetener, and artificial sweeteners can wreak havoc in the body. Studies suggest they may increase sweet cravings, alter gut bacteria, potentially induce glucose intolerance, raise stroke and dementia risk, and modify metabolism in ways that increase body fat.

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Secondly, soda isn’t where you should be getting your fiber. Fiber is important. But simply adding it to foods like candy, ice cream, donuts, and soda isn’t very helpful. It’s your overall diet that has the greatest impact on wellness and disease prevention. In other words, the benefits of fiber don’t cancel out the risks of consuming too much sugar or artificial additives—or missing out on vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and a healthy balance of macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbs).

Instead of stocking up on "fiber-added" products, I advise my clients to keep nutrient-rich whole foods and treats in separate mental categories. The former should be the focus of your daily diet, while the latter should be occasional (and ideally planned) indulgences.

RELATED: Here's Why It Feels Like You Always Have Room for Dessert

So if you want ice cream, consider it a treat, and enjoy your favorite version of the real thing. Don’t be fooled into thinking that adding any kind of nutrient to an ice cream makes it good for you, or okay to eat every day.

As for fiber, it’s true that most of us fall short of the recommended 25 to 30 grams per day. The average daily fiber intake for Americans is 16 grams. But the smartest way to fill the gap is to up your intake of whole foods that are fiber-rich and also chock-full of other important nutrients. The best sources include pulses (beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas); vegetables (especially those with tough stalks or skin, like artichokes, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts); fruit (think edible seeds, skins, strands, and membranes, like raspberries, blackberries, pears, apples, oranges, and mangos); whole grains (quinoa, black rice, oats); nuts; seeds; and avocado.

RELATED: 23 Best Foods for Fiber

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Eating the following three foods would get you over 25 grams: Half an avocado (9 grams), 1 cup of raspberries (8 grams), and 1 cup of black beans (15 grams). I could list dozens of other combos of plant-based foods that would help you hit or surpass the mark. In fact, by aiming for at least five servings of produce per day, choosing whole grains over refined grains, eating even a half cup of pulses per day, and making nuts, seeds, and avocados staples in your diet, you’ll rack up plenty of fiber and nutrients daily–no doctored-up soda or other treats needed.

Cynthia Sass is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and consultant for the New York Yankees. See her full bio here.

Source: Nutrition

These Are The Most Popular Healthy Foods of 2017

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This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com. 

Every year, certain ingredients and dishes emerge as trendy “must-haves”—even if it’s something we’ve been eating for centuries. Just a few years ago, for example, no one had even heard of quinoa (which has been around for at least 5,000 years), and now not a day goes by when we don’t see it on a menu.

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These foods and popular ingredients aren’t just being whipped up by chefs or served in popular restaurants. They’ve become mainstream amongst home cooks across America, and thousands of eaters are also ordering them through delivery services. UberEATS has seen a surge in fresh, nutritious delivery orders (so long, pizza and burgers), so they compiled a list of the top 20 healthy food trends for 2017. The data is based on UberEATS order patterns so far this year.

RELATED: 9 Healthy Kitchen Staples That Cost Under $1 Per Serving

Unsurprisingly, avocado is at the top of the list—it seems this trend is here to stay. According to their data, the fruit is the most popular healthy food in more than 16 cities across the country. Kale has dropped to number 8 on the list, making way for poke (a Hawaiian raw fish salad), edamame, radishes, and pickles. Bulgur and brown rice have replaced quinoa as the resident grains/seeds in the top 20.

The fact that tofu rounds out the top 10 is a nod to people re-thinking the amount of meat they consume—and how it appears on their plates. More and more, in home kitchens, restaurants, and new cookbooks, we’re seeing veggies take center stage with meat as a side, or a garnish. Check out the full list below, and use it as an opportunity to try out some new healthy ingredients this year.

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  1. Avocado
  2. Poke
  3. Edamame
  4. Radish
  5. Pickles
  6. Cucumber
  7. Celery
  8. Kale
  9. Pho
  10. Tofu
  11. Carrots
  12. Broccoli
  13. Asparagus
  14. Bulgur
  15. Chickpea
  16. Cabbage
  17. Coconut
  18. Brown Rice
  19. Bok Choy
  20. Bone Broth

Source: Nutrition

Alcohol Is Good for Your Heart—Most of the Time

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This article originally appeared on Time.com. 

Alcohol, in moderation, has a reputation for being healthy for the heart. Drinking about a glass of wine for women per day, and two glasses for men, is linked to a lower risk of heart attack, stroke and death from heart disease. (Drinking too much, of course, negates these benefits and increases the risk of heart problems.)

Now, a new study of nearly two million people published in The BMJ adds more evidence that moderate amounts of alcohol appear to be healthy for most heart conditions—but not all of them.

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The researchers analyzed the link between alcohol consumption and 12 different heart ailments in a large group of U.K. adults. None of the people in the study had cardiovascular disease when the study started.

People who did not drink had an increased risk for eight of the heart ailments, ranging from 12% to 56%, compared to people who drank in moderation. These eight conditions include the most common heart events, such as heart attack, stroke and sudden heart-related death. Non-drinkers had a 33% higher risk of unstable angina—a condition in which the heart doesn’t get enough blood flow—and a 56% higher risk of dying unexpectedly from heart disease, compared to people who drank a glass or two of alcohol a day.

RELATED: How Alcohol Affects Your Body

But alcohol does not seem to provide protection against four less common heart problems: certain types of milder strokes, which result from brief periods when blood flow to parts of the brain are blocked, and cases of bleeding in the brain.

The study’s findings are particularly interesting because the researchers separated drinkers into categories that are typically lumped together in these kinds of studies. “Non-drinkers” often include people who have never drank, as well as those who quit drinking (who may have been heavy drinkers in the past, and so may have a higher risk of heart problems). This may have inflated the risk of non-drinkers; in some cases, grouping people this way might make drinking alcohol look better for the heart than it actually is.

It’s not clear from the current study why alcohol lowers the risk of some heart conditions and not others. But Steven Bell, a genetic epidemiologist at University of Cambridge and the study’s lead author, says that another study designed to answer that question is currently underway. “We are unpacking how different risk factors are associated with each different disease,” he says. Future studies will also tease apart whether different types of alcohol—wine versus beer or spirits, for example—have varying effects on the risk of heart disease.

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In the meantime, Bell says that the results should reassure people who drink a few glasses of alcohol each week. But it shouldn’t compel people who don’t currently drink to pick up the habit in order to stave off heart disease. Because alcohol carries a risk of liver disease, there are safer ways to lower risk, he says, such as quitting smoking, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet.

Source: Nutrition