Time to raise a toast to good health. A new research claims that alcohol may be good for your heart when consumed in moderation. The study also found that people drinking wine, liquor or beer regularly are less prone to heart failure and heart attacks than those who rarely or never drink.
Three to five drinks a week can be good for your heart, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) said. The findings of two studies, one about heart failure and the other on acute myocardial infarction (AMI), showed that people who regularly drink alcohol have better cardiovascular health than those who consume little or no alcohol.
Those who drank three to five drinks per week were 33% less prone to heart failure than those who abstained or drank infrequently, researchers said. In the case of heart attacks, the risk appeared to be reduced by 28 per cent with each additional one-drink increment, they said.
In the myocardial infarction study, 41% of participants reported that they did not drink at all or that they consumed less than half of one alcoholic beverage per week. Both studies were based on the longitudinal HUNT 2 Nord-Trondelag Health Study conducted between 1995 and 1997.
Watch: Heart Healthy Benefits of Drinking Alcohol
The study, which looked at the relationship between heart failure and alcohol, followed 60,665 participants who had no incidence of heart failure at that time. Of those, 1588 of them developed heart failure during the period of the study, which ended in 2008. The risk was highest for those who rarely or never drank alcohol, and for those who had an alcohol problem.
The more often participants consumed alcohol within normal amounts, the lower their risk of heart failure turned out to be, researchers said. Those who drank five or more times a month had a 21% lower risk compared to non-drinkers and those who drank little, while those who drank between one and five times a month had a two per cent lower risk, they said.
In the heart attack study, 58,827 participants were categorised by how much and how often they drank. Some 2,966 of the participants experienced an AMI between 1995 and the end of 2008. The adjusted analyses showed that each additional one-drink increment decreased the risk of AMI by 28%.
Researchers said it does not matter much whether wine, liquor or beer was consumed. “It is primarily the alcohol that leads to more good cholesterol, among other things. But alcohol can also cause higher blood pressure. So it is best to drink moderate amounts relatively often,” said Imre Janszky from NTNU. The findings were published in the International Journal of Cardiology and the Journal of Internal Medicine.