New findings from researchers in the U.S. and Holland report that one or two alcoholic drinks per day may protect men with high blood pressure against the risk of heart attack.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre and Wageningen University, looked at moderate alcoholic consumption and risk of heart attack in nearly 12,000 men between 1986 and 2002.
Drinkers have a higher risk of high blood pressure and heavy drinking increases risk of early death, but many studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption may be healthy.
Researchers analyzed data from the 16-year survey and found that men who had one or two drinks per day had lower rates of heart attacks, although rates of overall death were not reduced. There was no protective effect for three or more drinks per day.
These latest findings, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine support previous research that suggests small to moderate amounts of alcohol can lower the risk of heart disease by increasing the levels of HDL, or "good" cholesterol.
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