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.'