Researchers in Italy have discovered that the heart-health benefits associated with the moderate consumption of wine may also apply to beer.
In previous studies, researchers were able to recognize a relationship between wine and cardiovascular benefits, but beer and other spirits showed no evidence of heart-health benefits. New research published in the European Journal of Epidemiology indicates that beer and wine both have very similar health benefits, but only when consumption is moderate and regular.
The researchers observed a maximum increase in protection against cardiovascular disease when a little more than one traditional English pint of beer containing about 5 percent alcohol was consumed daily. The findings are similar to what was already known about wine: Drinking about two glasses per day for men or one for women reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 31 percent.
“I think we will never stress enough this concept. Wine or beer are part of a lifestyle. One glass can pair with healthy foods, eaten at proper time, maybe together with family or friends. There is no place for binge drinking or any other form of heavy consumption,” said Augusto Di Castelnuovo, head of the Statistic Unit of Research Laboratories at the Fondazione di Ricerca e Cura “Giovanni Paolo II.”
The researchers say that while there is a benefit to moderate, regular consumption of beer and wine, drinking in excess quickly negates it and becomes detrimental to cardiovascular and overall health. They also say that the benefits do not apply to everyone; for example, young women increase their risk for some cancers with alcohol consumption.
Researchers are still unclear as to whether the cardiovascular health benefits of beer and wine are associated with the alcohol in the beverages or with other ingredients.