Moderate drinking good for your heart, says BMJ report

Drinks: Drinks

Could a glass a day keep the doctor away? Well possibly. That, at least, is the finding from a new study by the BMJ (British Medical Journal) which suggests that moderate alcohol consumption is good for your heart.

The study found a ‘protective effect observed for moderate drinking and major clinical outcomes such as myocardial infarction, ischaemic stroke, sudden coronary death, heart failure, peripheral arterial disease, and abdominal aortic aneurysm’.

Non-drinkers, in other words, were more at risk of heart problems than moderate drinkers.

The findings are good news for the drinks industry in general, which has been trying to clean up its act in terms of marketing and promotions over the last decade, but has been facing an ongoing barrage of anti-alcohol sentiment from a vocal element of the medical profession.

In February last year, the chief medical officer, Sally Davies controversially lowered the ‘weekly units recommendation’ for men to 14 units – the equivalent of seven pints a week.

And just last month British papers ran research funded by Alcohol Concern questioning the effectiveness of ‘healthy drinking’ posters in pubs.

But this report suggests the time has come for a rethink.

‘Associations exist between [the] level of alcohol consumption and the initial presentation of cardiovascular diseases,’ the report concludes. ‘This has implications for counselling patients, public health communication, and clinical research, suggesting a more nuanced approach to the role of alcohol in prevention of cardiovascular disease is necessary.’

About Author

Chris Losh

After five years working on My Weekly magazine (during which time he learned how to write horoscopes and make things out of mince) in 1995 Chris Losh entered the world of drinks writing and, despite all advice from his doctor – and the wishes of most South African winemakers – has stayed there ever since. He began on Wine and Spirit International, editing it for several years before moving on to edit Wine Magazine. Both publications have since gone the way of the Dodo, but he claims to have nothing to do with their demise, and his alibi appears solid, since he was freelance writing for anyone who would pay him at the time. In 2007, he helped to set up both Imbibe magazine and the Sommelier Wine Awards, and has spent much of the last three years eating, drinking, and listening to French sommeliers talk about minerality. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Louis Roederer Feature Writer of the Year, but didn’t win. Perhaps he should have stuck to horoscopes. And mince.

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