Beer in moderation benefits health

New Delhi: Moderate and regular consumption of beer, like wine, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, Italian researchers say.

The study conducted by Research Laboratories at the Fondazione di Ricerca e Cura "Giovanni Paolo II", in Campobasso, Italy, confirmed what was already known about wine: a moderate consumption (approximately two glasses per day for men and one for women) can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, up to 31 per cent less when comparing to non drinkers.

What this research adds are new data on beer. For the first time, in fact, evidence about dose-dependent effect is shown for this beverage.

Maximum protection is observed, for a beer containing 5 percent of alcohol, with a consumption of slightly more than an English pint a day.

"In our research we considered wine and beer separately: you first observe a reduction in cardiovascular risk with low to moderate drinking," explained Simona Costanzo, first author of the study.

"Then, with an increasing consumption, you can see that the advantage disappears, until the risk gets higher. The interesting part of our research is that, among the studies selected for this meta-analysis, there were 12 in which wine and beer consumption could be compared directly. Using these data we were able to observe that the risk curves for the two beverages are closely overlapping," she stated.

But beer as well as wine, drinkers, should be cautious before toasting too much at these results.

Augusto Di Castelnuovo, head of the Statistic Unit of Research Laboratories and a pioneer in alcohol epidemiological studies pointed out, "What we are talking about is moderate and regular drinking. I think we will never stress enough this concept."

"Wine or beer are part of a lifestyle. One glass can pair with healthy foods, eaten at proper time, maybe together with family of friends. There is no place for binge drinking or any other form of heavy consumption," he added.

The study has been just published online by the European Journal of Epidemiology.


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