Here’s a bit of good news for people who have a few drinks at the end of the day: that buzz you’ve developed doesn’t just help your mind relax, it’s also pretty good for you ticker, according to researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
These researchers recently published two papers, one in the International Journal of Cardiology and another in the Journal of Internal Medicine, finding that people who drank regularly actually had healthier hearts than people who didn’t drink regularly or those who abstained completely.
In fact, people who drank three to five drinks per week were 33 percent less likely to experience heart failure. And get this, it didn’t matter what alcohol was consumed. While we all know red wine and its antioxidants are beneficial, it seems in this case all forms of alcohol–beer, wine, or liquor–did the trick.
What the researchers found was that alcohol helps lead to good cholesterol, reducing risk of heart attack by 28 percent with every drink, up to five a week. Because more than five drinks can begin to start raising blood pressure, if you’re a heavy consumer, that high blood pressure you’re creating can outweigh the good cholesterol the alcohol is spawning. That’s why researchers have said three to five drinks a week is really ideal.
“It’s primarily the alcohol that leads to more good cholesterol, among other things. But alcohol can also cause higher blood pressure. So it’s best to drink moderate amounts relatively often,” lead researcher Imre Janszky told Science Daily.
But it’s not just drinking three to five drinks every once and a while that seems to help, it’s actually making a habit of doing it weekly. The more often participants consumed alcohol within normal amounts, the lower their risk of heart failure turned out to be. Those who drank five or more times a month had a 21 percent lower risk compared to non-drinkers and those who drank little, while those who drank between one and five times a month had a two percent lower risk.
So the conclusion seems to be, for a healthy heart drink up and regularly. But as always, do so in moderation.