A Glass of Wine with Your Workout?

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Regular wine consumption has been touted for decades to improve heart health, specifically to raise levels of high-density lipoprotein, aka “good” cholesterol. A recent study from the Czech Republic, presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in 2014, supported these claims, but with one crucial caveat: The wine drinking must be combined with exercise. The Czech researchers analyzed more than 100 individuals with mild to moderate risk of cardiovascular disease over the course of a year, instructing each to imbibe in moderate consumption of either red (pinot noir) or white wine (chardonnay pinot). (“Moderate consumption” was defined as roughly 10 ounces daily for men and just less than 7 ounces for women no more than five times a week.) Study results showed that the only individuals whose HDL levels increased significantly were those who reported exercising at least twice weekly, suggesting that physical activity might be a necessary catalyst for alcohol’s health benefits. In this group, LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels decreased, as well. It’s worth noting that these positive effects were seen in both red- and white-wine drinkers. So go ahead, have a glass or two of vino most days — just make sure it’s preceded by a good workout.