Given the highly praised benefits of resveratrol, a compound found in grape skins, wine seems the obvious choice. Studies suggest it can help fight cancer, preserve memory, ease depression, and more. But the research is still evolving, says Joseph Wu, PhD, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at New York Medical College.
When it comes to reducing cardiovascular risk, though—which is of special concern, as heart disease is the number-one killer of both men and women—the type of alcohol doesn't matter. "About 97% of the studies suggest it's the ethanol content in alcohol that's most beneficial," says Eric Rimm, ScD, director of the program in cardiovascular epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
"You can study people who drink beer in Germany, spirits in Finland, and wine in France, and they all end up with about a 30% reduction in heart disease," says Rimm.