By Aly Walansky
Updated March 08, 2016

The best thing for almost everything in life is everything in moderation. Particularly when it comes to drinking. Lately, we’ve been getting a whole lot of mixed messages regarding drinking and heart health. It seems moderate amounts is good for us, but excessive amounts aren’t.

A study published in the journal Circulation reveals that enjoying six or more drinks in one night may increase our risk for stroke and heart attacks within the following week, but drinking two to four drinks in a night actually lower that same risk.

“The impact of alcohol on your risk of heart attacks and strokes depends on how much and how often you drink,” said lead study author Elizabeth Mostofsky of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston told the Washington Post. “Habitual moderate alcohol consumption is associated with lower risk of heart disease in both sexes, but the amount of alcohol associated with cardiovascular benefits is lower among women than among men,” Mostofsky added.

Minimal use of alcohol can have some cardio-protective effects which has been demonstrated in something called The French Paradox, says Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., Cardiologist and co-author of Health Revelations from Heaven and Earth. “The French have an average cholesterol of 250-275 but have the lowest incidence of heart disease in Western Europe, suggesting that drinking wine has favorable cardiovascular effects. However, too much wine or alcohol, is demonstrated in that the French have a high degree of cirrhosis meaning that over-indulgence has a dark side. In the final analysis, alcohol in low levels may be supportive for the heart but moderate to high levels, will adversely affect the heart,” says Dr. Sinatra.

It is all about balance. “A glass of wine at the evening meal four to five times a week, in my opinion, is supportive for cardiovascular health. However, anything in excess of that, could invite undesirable effects over time,” Dr. Sinatra says.