We’re heading into the winter months, but here’s a little good news for anyone who’s looking for a little holiday cheer: If you like to have a few drinks every week throughout the season, that alcohol consumption could also be beneficial for preventing heart disease.
Researchers at Monash University in Australia recently published the findings of their latest study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, where they looked at connections between alcohol consumption and the risk of heart disease and overall mortality in older adults. Much of the previous academic literature on the subject has focused on younger people and charted their drinking habits over decades, whereas this group of scientists wanted to see the consequences later in life.
They collected data from over 18,000 Americans and Australians over the age of 70; in particular, none of these subjects had a previous cardiovascular event, diagnosed dementia, or an independence-limiting physical disability. Subjects provided answers to questionnaires over the course of around four to five years about their daily behaviors and drinking habits, including how often they had alcohol on a daily and weekly basis.
By the end of their study, scientists concluded that people over 70 who were consuming a moderate amount of alcohol every week — roughly three-and-a-half to seven drinks — were less likely to suffer from heart disease or have a similar cardiovascular issue. Moreover, the research also suggested that moderate drinking may also lower the risk of mortality in general.
Researchers point out, however, that they need more work done in this field due to the self-reporting nature of their data. Moreover, because the study took place over a longer period of time, there’s a chance that participants who started the study healthy may have developed heart problems or other health issues down the line that could complicate their findings.
Still, if you were wondering whether or not to have that glass of wine or that bottle of beer tonight, it sounds like it’s okay to drink up!