Women with moderate beer consumption run lower risk of heart attack
Women who drink beer at most once or twice per week run a 30% lower risk of heart attack, compared with both heavy drinkers and women who never drink beer. The study shows also a statistically significant connection between high consumption of spirits and an almost 50% higher risk of dying of cancer
In the study, researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, have followed a representative selection of the middle-aged female population from 1968 to 2000 (when the women in the study were between 70 and 92 years old).
Now, with the help of data from the study, the researchers have attempted to chart the relationship between the intake of different types of alcoholic beverages and the incidence of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
In the study in question, the 1,500 women were asked about the frequency of their consumption of beer, wine or spirits (from 'daily' to 'nothing in the past 10 years'), and about various physical symptoms.
The results reveal that over the 32-year follow-up period, 185 women had a heart attack, 162 suffered a stroke, 160 developed diabetes and 345 developed cancer.
Higer cancer risk
The study shows a statistically significant connection between high consumption of spirits (defined as more frequent than once or twice per month) and an almost 50 per cent higher risk of dying of cancer, compared with those who drink less frequently.
Lower risk of heart attack
The study also reveals that women who reported that they drank beer once or twice per week to once or twice per month ran a 30 per cent lower risk of a heart attack than women who drank beer several times per week/daily or never drank beer. Moderate consumption of beer thus seems to protect women from heart attacks.
“Previous research also suggests that alcohol in moderate quantities can have a certain protective effect, but there is still uncertainty as to whether or not this really is the case. Our results have been checked against other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, which substantiates the findings. At the same time, we were unable to confirm that moderate wine consumption has the same effect, so our results also need to be confirmed through follow-up studies,” explains Dominique Hange, researcher at Sahlgrenska Academy.