Good news for women who love a good pint of brew: beer may actually help protect women against the risk of heart attacks and add to overall happiness levels in the long run.
The team found that women who regularly drank one or two beers per week were 30 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack than their teetotaling or heavy drinking peers.
The longterm study was conducted at Sahlgrenska Academy, a research center at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. A total of 1,500 women between the ages of 38 to 60 (in 1968-1969) participated. Between 1968 and 2000, the women were required to complete a form revealing their total consumption of alcohol including wine, beer and liquor as well as any diseases, illnesses or conditions they had. The team of scientists cross-referenced the data to look for patterns and trends between alcohol consumption and the risk of certain illnesses.
In the 32-year follow-up period, 185 women had a heart attack, 162 suffered a stroke, 160 developed diabetes and 345 developed cancer.
Researchers found a statistically significant relationship between those with a high consumption of hard liquor (defined at “more frequent than once or twice per month”) and the risk of developing cancer. In other words, heavy drinkers had a 50 percent higher likelihood of dying from cancer compared with their moderate drinking counterparts.
The same was true of beer drinkers except for one bright spot in the data. Women were drank beer once or twice per week were 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack.
The team was unable to confirm that moderate wine consumption has the same effect.
University of Gothenburg scientists found similar results in males, who also seem to benefit from moderate beer consumption.
These findings were published in the Journal of Primary Health Care.
While initial studies seems encouraging for throwing a few back after a long week, scientists warn it’s too early to recommend drinking as a health measure, especially when measured against the disadvantages of alcohol consumption.