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‘Little and often’ alcohol protects against heart disease and dementia

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When it comes to alcohol, how much should you drink – if at all? According to two new studies, little and often could be the best policy to help ward off dementia and heart disease.
People who drink one glass of wine a day, or less, reduce the risk of heart disease by around 25 per cent compared to those who abstain. Researchers from the University of Calgary, who carried out the research, reckon that one glass (15g) of alcohol a day if you’re a woman, and two glasses if you’re a man, increase levels of ‘good’ cholesterol.
In a separate study, researchers discovered that a similar intake also lowered the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
However, both studies agree that heavy and binge drinking – where more than three glasses of alcohol are consumed every day – increased the risk of heart disease and dementia.
(Sources: British Medical Journal, 2011; 342: d671 (heart disease study); Journal of Age and Ageing, 2011; doi: 10.1093/ageing/afr007 (dementia study)).

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