By Allison Avery
Updated: June 03, 2008

One in three women die of heart disease, which can be warded off with good health practices like exercising and staying away from 14-ounce steaks and French fries. But picking up a (light!) drinking habit might actually fight off heart disease. Middle-aged nondrinkers who began consuming moderate amounts of alcohol had a 38% lower chance of having a heart attack or stroke than their nondrinking counterparts, a recent study showed. “The even more remarkable thing is that those who drank a glass of wine had a 68% lower risk of heart disease,” says lead study author Dana King, MD, professor of family medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Here's your heart-health plan: Hike your heart health by having up to one glass of alcohol a day. (If you can make that a glass of wine, all the better.) “But be aware of the ill-effects of alcohol too,” Dr. King says. Once you up the amount from one per day, you raise your risks of hypertension, liver disease, breast cancer, and addiction. Of course, having even one drink is not for everyone; check with your doctor to make sure its OK for you.

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