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Cheers! New Study Shows Health Benefits of Beer

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Raise your glass if you want a healthy heart! Drinking beer may be good for your cardiovascular health, according to a frothy new study on the health benefits of beer that will make you want to crack open a cold one.

To test the link between alcohol consumption and disease, Swedish researchers followed over 1,500 women for 50 years and tracked their medical records. During that time, they asked women how often they consumed beer, wine, or spirits with options ranging from "daily" to "nothing in the past 10 years." After analyzing the data they found that women who drank beer moderately (once or twice a week to once or twice a month) had a 30 percent lower risk of a heart attack than women who had a daily pint or never drank.

This supports other research that has found some health benefits to moderate beer drinking. A Spanish study published in BioMed Central, found that beer reduced the risk of heart attacks, lowered risk of diabetes, and reduced blood pressure. The doctors attributed the healthy effects to the naturally occurring folic acid, vitamins, iron, and calcium in the grains from which beer is made. (Need more evidence? Check out these 7 Health Benefits of Beer.)

But while the Swedish paper published in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, had good news for beer drinkers, it didn't show a similar correlation for other types of alcohol. Instead, the researchers found that drinking spirits once or twice a month raised the women's cancer risk by nearly 50 percent. As for the much-touted glass of red wine, they found no evidence that it provided any health benefits.

The truth of the matter is, the jury's still out: "Previous research also suggests that alcohol in moderate quantities can have a certain protective effect, but there is still uncertainty as to whether or not this really is the case," said Dominique Hange, Ph.D. a researcher at Sahlgrenska Academy and author of the paper. He added there needs to be more research, especially into the questions about wine consumption.

We'll leave the details to the scientists to figure out but in the meantime, cheers to a healthy heart!

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