New research from Denmark has indicated that moderate drinkers have a 30% lower risk of heart disease than those who abstain from alcohol.
The University of Southern Denmark took data from 11,914 people in Copenhagen and found that moderate drinkers who also exercise regularly are between 44% to 50% less likely to suffer heart disease than non-drinkers who do not exercise.
Although previous studies have cited the benefits of exercise and moderate drinking in lowering the risk of heart disease, the Danish research team said theirs was the first scientific study to assess the advantages of both simultaneously.
Morten Grønbæk, a professor at the university, said: “The new thing about our study is that we look at the combined effects of drinking alcohol and being physically active compared to, for instance, only being physically active and not drinking or drinking but not being physically active … it’s the only study on this issue.”
The 20-year study was based on subjects with three different levels of physical activity, as well as moderate drinkers and non-drinkers. Moderate drinking and regular exercise was found to be the combination most likely to ward off heart disease, with moderate drinking being defined as fewer than 14 units of alcohol per week.