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Why Your Doctor Wants You to Have a Beer Tonight

Ali Eaves
man drinking beer

Toast to your ticker: Having a drink a day is linked to a lower risk of heart failure, finds a new study published in the European Heart Journal.

After tracking the booze habits and health of nearly 15,000 people over 25 years, researchers found that men who had seven drinks per week were 20 percent less likely to experience heart failure than those who don’t drink.

While the findings are significant, they don’t necessarily prove that alcohol protects your heart, says study author Scott Solomon, M.D., a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. It could just be that casual drinkers lead healthier lifestyles, he says.

But there is other evidence that small amounts of alcohol can be good for your ticker. For one thing, it increases HDL cholesterol, Dr. Solomon says. Past research has shown that it can also reduce blood problems that lead to clogged arteries.

(For more on the benefits of boozing, read How Beer Helps You Live Longer.)

So does this mean you have doctor’s orders to get liquored up? Not exactly.

If you don’t drink, you shouldn’t feel compelled to start just because of one study, Dr. Solomon says. And it’s also not license to overindulge. “When alcohol consumption goes above moderate, to 3 drinks per day or more, the risk for death increases,” he says.

But if you already have a beer every day, that’s a lifestyle choice you can feel good about, Dr. Solomon says. We’ll raise a glass to that.

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