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A new study says that having one drink each day is better for you than abstaining. The health benefits of including a moderate amount of alcohol in the diet have been vigorously debated in research. Now, a new study finds that drinking up to seven drinks a week is linked to a lower risk of developing heart failure in the future.

In a new study published in the European Heart Journal, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, analyzed data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, which included 14,629 participants aged between 45 and 64 years.

The participants were recruited between 1987 and 1989 and they were followed for 24-25 years.

Interviews were conducted with the participants on their drinking habits at the start of the study and at follow-up interviews conducted at 3-yearly intervals.

A major study of some 15,000 men and women found that moderate but frequent alcohol consumption in early to middle age could reduce the risk of heart failure—when the heart becomes too weak to pump blood around the body at the right pressure—by 20 percent for men and 16 percent for women.

While there are, of course, a vast number of risks associated with drinking, this research has been more comprehensive than most: the team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston analyzed data from its participants over the course of 25 years, investigating their alcohol intake during three visits made every three years. They categorized people into six groups: abstainers (who consumed no alcohol in between visits), former drinkers, people who had up to seven drinks a week, those who consumed 7-14 drinks during that time, and those who drank more than 21 alcoholic beverages weekly.

Around 2,500 of the participants developed heart failure—which affects more than 23 million worldwide—over the course of the study, the lowest rates of which were present among the group consuming seven drinks each week. Those who identified as abstainers and participants in the group consuming 7-14 drinks weekly were found to have a near-identical likeliness of developing heart failure, further indication that being teetotal bears little impact on one’s risk of the ailment.…

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