A glass or two of wine a day helps the body make oils that are good for the heart, research suggests.
A study of hundreds of couples revealed that drinking small amounts of alcohol boosts levels of omega 3. The oils, which are more usually associated with eating oily fish, are credited with a host of health benefits, from cutting the risk of heart disease to boosting brain power.
It is thought that alcoholic drinks enhance the production of the fats in the body, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports.
Most effective of all is red wine, with one small glass a day for women and two for men providing optimum benefit, the Italian study found. The researchers made the link after studying the health of around 800 couples from London, Belgium and Italy. The analysis showed that those who drank small amounts of alcohol had higher levels of omega 3 in their blood, even when the amount of fish they ate was taken into account.
The researchers, from the Catholic University of Campobasso, said the finding could help explain how red wine protects against heart disease. Researcher Dr Licia Iacoviello said: 'We consider these data to be a major finding.'