LIFESTYLE
16/11/2011 06:42 GMT

A Daily Pint Of Beer Could Cut Risk Of Heart Disease By A Third, Says Study

A pint of strong beer a day can cut the risk of heart disease, new research reveals.

We all know that a daily glass of red wine is good for the heart but now scientists claim that beer is just as beneficial.

Researchers at Italy's Fondazione di Ricerca e Cura combined a number of different studies conducted over the past few years, with a data set of 2,000 people to explore the possible link between beer drinking and cardiovascular disease.

The findings confirmed that two glasses of wine a day for men and one for women cut their risk of cardiovascular disease by a third compared to teetotallers but also showed that a pint of beer gave similar protection.

The optimum consumption was found to be slightly more than an English pint's worth of beer with a strength of 5% alcohol, each day.

Lead author of the study, Dr Simona Costanza, said his team considered the effects of wine and beer on heart health: "There were 12 studies in which wine and beer consumption could be compared directly. We found that the risk curves for the two beverages closely overlap."

But before you head down to your local pub to build up your heart strength, experts warn that moderation is the key here.

Augusto Di Castelnuovo, the head of the Statistic Unit at the Research Laboratories and a leading expert on the health benefits of alcohol, says:

"What we are talking about is moderate and regular drinking. I think we will never stress enough this concept. Wine or beer are part of a lifestyle. One glass can pair with healthy foods, eaten at proper time, maybe together with family of friends. There is no place for binge drinking or any other form of heavy consumption. The data reported in our meta-analysis cannot be extrapolated to everybody. In young women still in their fertile age, as an example, alcohol can slightly raise the risk for some kind of cancer. This could counterbalance the positive effect on cardiovascular disease and reduce the overall benefit of alcoholic beverages on health."

The research appears in the European Journal of Epidemiology.