It seems like every week there’s a new study telling you whether or not it’s healthy to consume alcohol. While their are tons of evidence that drinking too much alcohol is bad for your health, a new study published in the European Heart Journal suggests that having about one drink a day could reduce the risk of heart disease.
For the study, researchers followed the habits of about 15,000 middle-aged men and women over the course of 25 years. They found that drinking up to seven alcoholic drinks per week actually reduced the risk of heart disease compared to those who don’t drink. “These findings suggest that drinking alcohol in moderation does not contribute to an increased risk of heart failure and may even be protective,” Dr. Scott Solomon, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and senior physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said in a press release. However, he added, “heavy alcohol use is certainly a risk factor for deaths from any cause.”
They also found that the risk for heart failure was reduced by 20 percent for men and 16 percent for women. “There are a number of different mechanisms by which the effects of alcohol on the heart may differ by sex,” write the researchers in their study. “Women have a higher proportion of body fat and absorb and metabolize alcohol differently than men, attaining higher blood alcohol concentrations for a given amount of alcohol consumed.”
It’s important to keep in mind that the study doesn’t claim definitively that drinking booze will help prevent heart disease.
Still, it’s useful information for the next time you want to indulge in a cocktail after a long day at work.