AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new study presented this weekend to the American College of Cardiology found people who drink alcohol once or twice a day may face fewer heart problems than people who abstain.
Scientists studied the brain scans of 53,064 people and their self-reported alcohol intake.
The research suggests moderate amounts of alcohol, which is defined as one alcoholic drink a day for women and two for men, may protect your heart.
The study found moderate drinkers had a 20% lower chance of suffering a heart attack than people who reported low or no alcohol intake.
“So, what I take away from this study is not that we recommend everybody should have a drink or two per day, but that perhaps by lowering stress we can reduce risks of cardiovascular events,” said Dr. Deborah Ekery, a cardiologist at Austin Heart who practices at Heart Hospital of Austin.
The study measured activity in parts of the brain associated with stress and found stress levels were higher in non-drinkers when compared with people who drank moderately.
Dr. Ekery said this new study is not meant to encourage alcohol intake.
“In someone who doesn’t drink alcohol at all, I would never recommend that they start drinking for this purpose. Alcohol also has some negative effects. It could increase risks of certain cancers, liver disease and lead to dependence, in some people.”