Moderate intake of alcohol could cut the risk of heart attacks in men suffering from high blood pressure or hypertension, says a new study, though it advises people to consult their doctor as well.
Traditionally, doctors advice people with high blood pressure to increase their activity levels, cut salt consumption and eat fewer high fat foods to reduce the likelihood of suffering a heart attack, stroke or kidney damage.
Researchers led by Joline Beulens of Wageningen University in the Netherlands studied 11,711 men with high blood pressure and suggested that doctors recommend patients to have a daily drink, according to the online edition of Daily Mail.
Participants filled out a questionnaire every four years including details of how often they drank beer, red wine, white wine and spirits. The research team also looked at how many suffered heart attacks, heart disease and strokes between 1986 and 2002.
During this time, a total of 653 suffered heart attacks of which 279 were fatal.
When the scientists linked alcohol use and heart problems, they found that the chances of suffering a heart attack were lower among men who consumed one or two drinks a day.
A drink was defined as being a glass of wine or a single shot of spirits.
Beulens said: "This was the first study to our knowledge that examined the risk of heart attacks among men with high blood pressure who drank moderately.
"Men diagnosed with hypertension probably get a lot of advice on how to change their lifestyle, physical activity and diet. This study indicates that if they drink alcohol in moderation they may not need to change their drinking habits."
However, she urged men not to have three drinks a day, as this increases their blood pressure and risk of an attack.
"Our findings are not a license for men with hypertension to overindulge," she said.
The researchers said it was not possible to say whether the findings applied to women as their study only looked at men.