It’s hard to keep up with the research about how drinking affects your health. One study finds a little alcohol is good for your heart, but another comes out saying we shouldn’t imbibe. But a new study from the UK has figured out exactly how much alcohol we can consume each week and still be heart healthy.
Steven Bell, an epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge in England and his team of researchers reviewed the medical records of close to two million people, breaking them down into categories of non-drinkers, former drinkers, occasional drinkers, moderate drinkers, and heavy drinkers. And they followed up with them for six years to see if they experienced any of 12 heart issues.
So you’re probably thinking the nondrinkers have the lowest risk for heart problems, but it turns out, that group didn’t rank lowest risk for any of them – incluxding heart attack, heart failure, and heart disease-related chest pain. It was the moderate drinkers who were less likely to be diagnosed with heart-related conditions.
But what exactly does “moderate” mean in real life? The researchers determined that 14 “units” of alcohol a week is moderate. And a “unit” is defined as eight grams of pure alcohol, so a glass of wine equals two units and a pint of 5% beer counts as three units. That means each week you could drink about seven glasses of wine or five pints of beer and have a healthier heart than if you didn’t drink at all, at least according to this study. Cheers!