Anyone who’s experienced a cardiac episode such as a heart attack, stroke, or angina, may not need to give up booze entirely to keep their ticker in shape. In fact, according to a new study, drinking a small amount of alcohol each day could slash the chance of a repeat health scare in half.
Research published in the BMC Medicine journal observed data from more than 48,000 adults with cardiovascular disease (CVD) over a 20 year span. They found that drinking up to 105 grams of alcohol each week (or 15 grams a day) significantly cut the risk of suffering subsequent cardiac episodes. Study authors say that’s equivalent to a slightly less than six pints of medium-strength beer or just over a bottle of wine spread out during a week.
Those who cut back to just 6 grams of alcohol each day (42 grams a week) showed the greatest decreased risk, lowering it by up to 50 percent. CNN reports that’s roughly half a glass of beer or wine, or .75 ounces of distilled spirits, a day. Others who drank a tiny bit more with about 8 grams daily (56 grams weekly) still reduced their risk by up to 27 percent.
These findings back up previous research that claims small amounts of alcohol can provide protection for our hearts. John Hopkins University doctors explain this could be due to many factors, like moderate consumption raising our “good” cholesterol levels or the antioxidants often found in wine potentially boosting heart health.
More research needs to be done, but lead study author Chengyi Ding emphasizes moderation is key. “Our findings suggest that people with CVD may not need to stop drinking in order to prevent additional heart attacks, strokes, or angina, but that they may wish to consider lowering their weekly alcohol intake,” she said in a press release. “Alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of developing other illnesses, those with CVD who do not drink should not be encouraged to take up drinking.”
Of course, everyone is different and you should always listen to the specific advice from your doctor regarding your own heart health. Whatever it takes to keep ticking will be worth it in the long run!