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Moderate boozing good for your heart: Official

However, 'if you don't drink, this is not a reason to start'

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A study published in the British Medical Journal shows that moderate drinking can help prevent heart disease and stroke.

The BBC summarises that the review of 30 years of research "showed a 14 per cent to 25 per cent reduction in heart disease in moderate drinkers compared with people who had never drunk alcohol".

Specifically, "analysis revealed that the lowest risk of coronary heart disease mortality occurred with one to two drinks a day" – that's 2.5g to 14.9g of alcohol. A UK alcohol unit is half a pint of "normal beer", containing 8g of pure alcohol.

Likewise, "consuming small quantities of alcohol had a beneficial effect on the number of strokes and stroke deaths".

Study author professor William Ghali, from the Institute for Population and Public Health at the University of Calgary, told the BBC: "Our extensive review shows that drinking one or one to two drinks would be favourable.

He added: "There is this potentially slippery slope, most notably with social problems and alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver, but the overall mortality including cancer and accidents shows you would be better with alcohol."

Cathy Ross, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, chipped in with: "This analysis of previous studies supports what we already know about moderate drinking reducing our risk of cardiovascular disease."

She did, however, offer the obligatory caveat, warning: "However, drinking more than sensible amounts of alcohol does not offer any protection and can cause high blood pressure, stroke, some cancers and damage to our heart.

"If you don't drink, this is not a reason to start. Similar results can be achieved by being physically active and eating a balanced and healthy diet." ®

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