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After all the talk of alcohol being the cause of so many diseases, there’s finally some good news for drinkers as new studies show it can actually protect against heart disease.
Just 1 drink a day can reduce the risks of heart problems by up to a quarter, the major studies found. Past studies have found that wine is high in antioxidants giving you good circulation, and red wine is especially good for cholesterol in the blood. However, it’s not just wine that can be good for you – beers and sprits can help fight heart disease too.
Of course this is in moderation and it’s important to remember that too much alcohol can lead to problems like liver damage and early death, but there are benefits to having the occasional glass of wine or pint of beer.
Experts haven’t confirmed how alcohol can protect your heart but they think it helps your body metabolise glucose better and reduce blood clots.
Canadian researchers said these results made a strong argument that moderate drinking can reduce heart disease.
However Cathy Ross of the British Heart Foundation says: ‘If you don’t drink, this is not a reason to start. Similar results can be achieved by being physically active and eating a balanced and healthy diet.’
So, how much should I be drinking?
Up to 1 drink or 15g of alcohol a day for women and up to 2 drinks or 30g a day for men is what’s recommended and it’s the alcohol in your drink that has the benefits not the type of drink you have.
In Britain, 1 unit of alcohol measures 8g. Men should drink no more than 3-4 units a day (1 ½ pints of lager) and women shouldn’t drink anymore than 2-3 units a day (a 175ml glass of wine).
The researchers in Canada said a balance needed to be found between too much alcohol being bad for you and drinking in moderation having health benefits.