There’s no doubt that making sure you don’t drink too much is a good idea, considering alcohol can ruin your health in various ways. However, it turns out that cutting out alcohol completely might not be the best move either. That’s because a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology (via EurekAlert!) has found that consuming a moderate amount of alcohol might actually help prevent heart disease.
Researchers at Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine took a look at data that was collected over more than four and a half years from around 18,000 Americans and Australians, with the majority of those participating being over 70 years old. What they found was that drinking a moderate amount of alcohol—51 to 150 grams or more each week, to be exact—was linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease… even when compared to those who drank no alcohol at all.
However, these findings may not present the entire picture.
“It has long been known that alcohol and cardiovascular disease forms a J-shaped curve. Risk starts higher with no alcohol, dips up to moderate, then starts to go up again,” Dr. Jordan Grumet, an internal medicine doctor and generalist, explains to Eat This, Not That!
Related: The #1 Food That’s Putting You at Risk of Heart Disease, Says Science
Beyond that, Monash University’s Dr. Johannes Neumann, who led the study, noted that the findings might not be fully indicative of what everyone would experience when it comes to alcohol consumption. That’s because those who participated were relatively healthy when the research began. There may have also been factors such as various kinds of activity levels that affected the participants’ results.
Bringing up another important aspect of alcohol consumption and how it can affect the body, Dr. Grumet pointed out that the potential benefits have “to be balanced with other risks such as breast cancer in women.” According to EurekAlert!, drinking too much alcohol can also mean being in greater danger of liver disease and pancreatitis.
Ultimately, Dr. Neumann suggested that more research needs to be done in order to get a better idea of how alcohol affects the heart. For now, as they say, it’s best to enjoy everything—including alcohol—in moderation.
To find out how to choose a healthier option, be sure to read The #1 Best Alcoholic Beverage To Drink, Says Dietitian. Then, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter!