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Health & Families

Cheers! A drink a day is good for your heart

New research published in the British Medical Journal on February 22 reports that people who drink alcohol in moderation (about one drink a day) are up to 25 percent less likely to develop heart disease compared to teetotalers.

An accompanying paper led by Dr Susan Brien, from the University of Calgary, states that a daily drink for women or two drinks per day for men is good for your health. Moderate drinking can significantly increase the levels of "good"' cholesterol circulating in the body, which can have a protective effect against heart disease.

Also, the research concludes that it is the alcohol content that provides the health benefits, not what type of alcoholic beverage - spirits, beer, wine - you are sipping. One drink equals about one 12-ounce (355-milliliter) bottle of beer, one 5-ounce (148-milliliter) glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces (44.4 milliliters) of 80-proof distilled spirits.

When at the bar, a glass of red wine is a good choice: Among other health benefits, researchers at Johns Hopkins University in the US discovered that red wine "protects the brain from damage following a stroke."

Research has shown that red wine can be good for your heart by helping to block the signals of molecules that can lead to the buildup of plaque in the arteries. But be mindful of portions: a large glass of wine might actually be two servings rather than one.

Access the study: http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d671