Beer, liquor and wine lovers – rejoice! According to researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) people who drink alcoholic drinks regularly, but in small quantities are less prone to heart failure and heart attacks than those who rarely or never drink. In other words, 3-5 drinks a week can be good for your heart.
Imre Janszky, a professor of social medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) confirmed what we all hoped was real: when consumed with moderation, alcohol helps the heart (he means physically, not metaphorically). Also, it doesn’t matter what you drink, it’s more about how much you drink.
“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,” he says.
He conducted two studies, the first of which came out in September, and the second in January. The studies showed that those who drank three to five drinks per week were 33 per cent less prone to heart failure than those who abstained or drank infrequently. In the case of heart attacks, the risk appears to be reduced by 28 percent with each additional one-drink increment. To some, this may come as a surprise – but to researchers, it was no surprise at all.
In fact, there seems to be a consensus that 3-5 small drinks a week are good for you, and not just against strokes.
“The relationship between alcohol and heart health has been studied in many countries, including the USA and southern European nations. The conclusions have been the same, but the drinking patterns in these countries are very different than in Norway. In countries like France and Italy, very few people don’t drink,” says Janszky. “It raises the question as to whether earlier findings can be fully trusted, if other factors related to non-drinkers might have influenced research results. It may be that these are people who previously had alcohol problems, and who have stopped drinking completely,” he says.
However, drinking alcohol isn’t necessary for a good heart and people shouldn’t pick up drinking just to be healthy – that’s a pathway to disaster.
“I’m not encouraging people to drink alcohol all the time. We’ve only been studying the heart, and it’s important to emphasize that a little alcohol every day can be healthy for the heart. But that doesn’t mean it’s necessary to drink alcohol every day to have a healthy heart,” says Janszky.
Enjoyed this article? Join 40,000+ subscribers to the ZME Science newsletter. Subscribe now!