Middle-aged non-drinkers can quickly reduce their risk of heart disease by introducing a daily tipple to their diet, South Carolina researchers say.
New moderate drinkers were 38% less likely to develop heart disease than those who stayed tee-total, a four-year study involving 7,500 people found. Those who drank only wine showed the most benefit, the researchers reported in the American Medical Journal.
But cardiac experts warned alcohol was not a panacea for good heart health.
The results came from a study of 7,500 people taking part in a trial to look at risk factors for atherosclerosis - hardening of the arteries. None of them drank alcohol at the start of the study but 6% began to drink moderate amounts - one drink per day or fewer for women and two drinks per day or fewer for men - during the course of the research.
The reduced cardiovascular risk remained when the researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina took into account physical activity, body mass index, demographic and cardiac risk factors.
There was no difference in deaths over the four-year follow up.
Source - BBC