It can be confusing to follow the sometimes-contradictory information about whether or not drinking in small amounts can be good for your health.
Some studies suggest women can reduce their risk of heart disease by having one glass of red wine a day, while others have found a glass of wine might even equal the benefits of an hour of exercise.
While it's nice to think that something you enjoy may have benefits beyond its taste, you should consider the very real risks associated with the overconsumption of alcohol.
"A woman's body is much more sensitive to the effects of alcohol and may be more easily damaged than a man's body by the overconsumption of alcohol," says Dr. Larkin Hoyt, a licensed clinical psychologist and director of outpatient services for Sharp Mesa Vista.
"When a person ingests alcohol, it is distributed throughout the body fluids including the blood. However, alcohol does not distribute into the fatty tissues. Because women typically have higher proportions of body fat than men, there is less volume through which to distribute the alcohol, resulting in higher blood alcohol concentrations. This can result in greater risk for adverse physical health consequences,” explains Dr. Hoyt.
“There’s a significant relationship between an individual's body weight, the amount of alcohol intake and blood alcohol concentration. It's important to be mindful of the amount a person consumes."
Limit your consumption
"Just because a woman enjoys the occasional drink, it certainly does not imply that she has a problem," explains Dr. Hoyt. "Simply limit your consumption to no more than one drink per day, which is equal to a 5-ounce glass of wine, one 12-ounce beer or one 1.5-ounce shot of distilled liquor."
If you are unable to stay within the suggested range of low-risk drinking, talk to your doctor about your concerns.