Q: I usually drink wine at dinner and coffee afterward. Is mixing the two bad for my cardiovascular health?—Linda, Long Island, N.Y
A: It's true that alcohol is a depressant and caffeine is a stimulant, but that doesn't mean that wine and coffee are contraindicated. "If you're having a meal, two alcoholic beverages followed by a cup of coffee will not put you in danger," University of Michigan cardiologist Dr. Richard Weinberg told Wine Spectator. "The take-home message is [that] alcohol and caffeine in moderation is fine." (Moderate wine consumption is considered one glass a day for women and two for men.)
However, it's difficult to ascertain how an individual will react to alcohol and caffeine, especially those with heart issues. "Some individuals can be more sensitive to caffeine, to where it predictably triggers heart-rhythm problems," Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center cardiologist Dr. Bryan Lee told Wine Spectator. "In these situations, avoidance of caffeine is suggested." Physicians' recommendations are made on a patient-by-patient basis, so consult your doctor if you have any concerns about your heart health and including wine or coffee as part of a healthy diet.