This month’s expert is Jose Luchsinger, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology, Columbia University Medical Center.
Dear Dr. Luchsinger,
I don’t drink wine, but I am hearing more and more that it’s good for you. Should I start drinking wine on a regular basis to improve my health?
There’s no doubt that you’re confused about the recommendations regarding alcohol because every day it seems that you read something different in the media. The Mediterranean Diet, which you’ve likely heard a lot about, recommends a moderate amount of red wine. But what’s moderate? Essentially that means 5 ounces for women and 10 ounces for men. As you age, your body processes alcohol differently and experts often recommend older people consume even smaller quantities. Last fall, I participated in the Global Council on Brain Health and I stand by the consensus recommendation we crafted: If you don’t drink alcohol, don’t start drinking in order to protect your brain health. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.