Drinking a small glass of wine or beer every day reduces your risk of heart failure, a major new study has found.
Men who have one drink of 14g of alcohol a day-which equates to one small glass of wine, a third of a litre of beer or less than one shot of spirits, such as whisky or vodka-have a 20 per cent lower risk of heart failure compared to non-drinkers, while the reduced risk is a more modest 16 per cent in women.
Researchers from Harvard University discovered alcohol's protective effects when they tracked the lives of 14,629 men and women, aged between 45 and 64 years, for up to 25 years. During those years, 1,271 men and 1,237 women developed heart failure-where the heart can't efficiently pump blood around the body-but the lowest rate was among those who were modest drinkers, consuming seven small glasses a week.
Heart failure rates were higher among those who drank more and less, and this ranged from non-drinkers to those drinking more than 21 glasses a week.
Former drinkers had the highest incidence of heart failure, with a 19 per cent raised risk in men and 17 per cent in women. Heavy drinkers-those drinking more than 21 drinks a week-had a much higher risk of dying from any cause; for men, the increased risk was 47 per cent and 89 per cent for women.
(Source: European Heart Journal, 2015; doi: 10.1093/eurheart/ehu514)