New evidence supports moderate drinking benefits

26 March 2017

A team from Cambridge University have found that drinking in moderation can actually cut the risk of heart attack and stroke.

There’s a long-running debate over whether a glass of wine a night can be good for you, with previous research claiming it has heart health benefits, while other studies finding daily drinking can increase the risk of cancer.

A team from Cambridge University have delved into the matter once more, and found that drinking in moderation can actually cut the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The team of experts, which also included researchers from University College London, looked at the link between alcohol consumption and 12 different heart ailments by analysing data from 1.94 million British men and women over 30. They focused on their drinking habits from the previous five years and then noted whether they’d had any heart attacks, strokes or other heart conditions over six years.

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It was found that adults who drank no alcohol were 32 per cent more likely than moderate drinkers to have a heart attack, 56 per cent more at risk of fatal heart disease, 56 per cent more likely to die of coronary heart disease and had a 24 per cent higher risk of heart failure.

Moderate drinking is classed as within 14 units of alcohol a week, which works out as a small glass of wine a day, a pint of weak beer or two measures of spirits.

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Exceeding that, and drinking heavily, can increase your risk of heart problems, with a 22 per cent increase in heart failure, a 33 per cent higher risk of stroke and a 50 per cent higher risk of cardiac arrest all recorded.

Results have been published in the British Medical Journal, with lead researcher Stephen Bell commenting that while results should reassure people who drink moderately, it’s important to remember that there are other ways, like through diet and exercise, to also keep your heart healthy.

“There are arguably safer and more effective ways of reducing cardiovascular risk... which do not incur increased risks of alcohol-related harm such as alcohol dependence, liver disease and cancer,” he stated.

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