23/02/2011 06:46 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

A Drink A Day Is Good For Your Heart

couples-drinking-alcohol-healthy-heart Cheers! A drink a day is good for your heart. Photo: Getty

Cases of alcohol-related liver disease may be on the increase in this country, but today there's good news for anyone who likes a drop of the strong stuff. According to experts writing in the British Medical Journal, a moderate amount of alcohol - and by that they mean one drink a day or less for women and two for men - could be good for your heart.

Compared to people who drink no alcohol at all, those who have a drink a day are between 14 - 25% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, say researchers from the University of Calgary in Canada.

That's because a small amount of alcohol increases levels of 'good' cholesterol, say the experts. It's good to have a certain amount of HDL-cholesterol (high density lipoproteins cholesterol, or 'good' cholesterol) in your blood as it's the type of cholesterol that's good for your cardiovascular system (HDL clears 'bad' cholesterol - the type that, when it builds up in your blood vessels, leads to heart disease - from the body).

The report examined the findings of 63 studies on alcohol and it's relation to cholesterol and fats in the blood. But exactly what you drink is irrelevant, the researchers explain, as it's the alcohol itself that's good for your heart.

However, don't take the news as an excuse to over-indulge, says Cathy Ross, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation. "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."

What's your favourite tipple?

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