Moderate alcohol consumption to prevent heart attacks
Men who combined the low-risk diet and moderate alcohol consumption with not smoking, being physically active and having a low amount of abdominal fat, had 86% lower risk
Four out of five heart attacks may be prevented by following key healthy lifestyle behaviours including moderate alcohol consumption, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
According to the study of over 20,000 Swedish men, the five low-risk lifestyle behaviours were: having a healthy diet; no smoking; being physically active; having no abdominal fat; and moderate alcohol consumption (10-30 g/day) – approximately 1-2 standard drinks. There was no differentiation made between spirits, beer or wine.
The researchers found a clear reduction in risk for heart attack for each individual lifestyle factor the participants practiced. This reduction in risk corresponded to 18% for the healthy diet, 11% for moderate alcohol consumption, 36% for no smoking, 3% for being physically active and 12% for having a low abdominal circumference.
The study found that combining a low-risk diet together with moderate alcohol consumption led to an estimated 35% lower risk of heart attack compared to the high-risk group, those who practice none of the low-risk factors.
Men who combined the low-risk diet and moderate alcohol consumption with not smoking, being physically active and having a low amount of abdominal fat, had 86% lower risk.
This study echoes the 2011 study by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which concluded that moderate alcohol consumption is one of four healthy lifestyle behaviours that help people live longer. According to the CDC, the four lifestyle behaviours were: having never smoked; eating a healthy diet; getting regular physical activity; and moderate alcohol consumption. The CDC researchers found that each lifestyle behaviour was significant in reducing mortality. They also found that the greatest benefit was when moderate alcohol consumption was included with the other three lifestyle behaviours.
The Federal 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderate drinking as consuming up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. The guidelines define a standard drink as 1.5 fluid ounces of 80 proof (40% alcohol) distilled spirits, 5 fluid ounces of wine (12% alcohol), or 12 fluid ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol). Each of these standard drinks contains 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol.