Study shows drinking after a heart attack is beneficial

A new study shows a drink or two may help men live longer after a heart attack.

According to the study, men who drank about two alcoholic drinks per day over a long period of time had a 14 percent lower risk of death from any cause, and a 42 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, than nondrinkers, the study found.

The findings

“Our findings clearly demonstrate that long-term moderate alcohol consumption among men who survived a heart attack was associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular mortality,” study first author Dr Jennifer Pai, an assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and a research associate at Harvard School of Public Health, said in a journal news release.

This study is one of several that indicate certain dietary changes may prevent health problems. Recently, the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study that showed men who regularly drink coffee have a lower risk of prostate cancer.  Other studies have suggested green tea may help women lose weight.

The numbers

The research, which appears online March 28 in the European Heart Journal, included more than 1,800 American men who survived a first heart attack between 1986 and 2006 and were followed for up to 20 years. During that time, 468 of the men died. Women were not part of this study.

A warning about drinking too much

“The takeaway here is that moderate drinking does not seem to cause harm and may possibly be beneficial to the heart,” Dr. Kenneth Ong, a cardiologist at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City added, “But that’s no reason to drink excessively. “High alcohol consumption is definitely shown to cause a significant number of health complications. If you plan to add moderate drinking to your health regimen, you should check with your health care provider first.”