Fresh Research Adds to Evidence that Moderate Drinking Could Reduce Risk of Heart Disease

An Australian team followed more than 18,000 adults over age 70 and found moderate drinkers had the lowest risk of heart attack or stroke

Fresh Research Adds to Evidence that Moderate Drinking Could Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
Could a daily glass of wine with a good diet help people over 70 stay heart healthy? New research suggests it could. (Natdanai Pankong / EyeEm/Getty)
Dec 8, 2021

Add one more salvo to the ongoing scientific debate on the health impact of moderate drinking. Multiple studies have found in recent decades that drinking approximately a glass of wine a day can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. But there's recently been pushback, with some arguing that other factors are at play and that no level of alcohol consumption is safe. Now a new study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology adds more evidence supporting moderate consumption.

A research team at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, found that moderate alcohol consumption may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events, including stroke and heart attack, as well as death from other causes. While previous studies have gathered data from younger individuals, this research is the first of its size to focus on the health of adults over the age of 70.

The study, titled the ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) clinical trial, was not solely focused on alcohol, but on lifestyle and health in older adults, with the goal of discovering ways to maintain health, quality of life and independence in aging populations. Led by Dr. Johannes Neumann, the team gathered data from over 18,000 previously healthy American and Australian adults, including questionnaires on diet and drinking.

After four years, they compared the number of CVD events and deaths, considering alcohol consumption. The study excluded former drinkers who may have stopped alcohol consumption for various health reasons (a common argument of those who say no level of drinking is safe is that nondrinkers in studies could be former drinkers who quit because of health problems).

Individuals who had regularly consumed 51 to 100 grams of alcohol per week, or approximately 3.5 to 7 drinks, were less likely to experience CVD events than those who did not drink at all. Those who consumed alcohol moderately experienced lower rates of overall mortality compared to heavier drinkers.

Though the study offers interesting data, it does not explain how alcohol can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The findings are correlation, not necessarily causation. Neumann points out that participants were healthy, did not suffer from CVD before the study and may have been more physically and socially active than the wider aging population. The authors do caution that further research is needed.


Want to learn more about how wine can be part of a healthy lifestyle? Sign up for Wine Spectator's free Wine & Healthy Living e-mail newsletter and get the latest health news, feel-good recipes, wellness tips and more delivered straight to your inbox every other week!

News heart-disease Health

You Might Also Like

Turning Tables: At Long Last, José Andrés to Open Restaurant at D.C.’s Old Post Office

Turning Tables: At Long Last, José Andrés to Open Restaurant at D.C.’s Old Post Office

The chef and humanitarian is opening a new location of the Bazaar in the historic building …

Jun 30, 2022
Möet Hennessy Buys Napa's Joseph Phelps Vineyards

Möet Hennessy Buys Napa's Joseph Phelps Vineyards

The multinational luxury corporation has purchased a Napa icon, home of Insignia

Jun 29, 2022
Cava Bubbles Up

Cava Bubbles Up

Spain's signature sparkling wine has been overshadowed by Champagne and Prosecco, but …

Jun 28, 2022
Wine Spectator Reveals 2022 Restaurant Award Winners

Wine Spectator Reveals 2022 Restaurant Award Winners

Nearly 3,200 restaurants around the world earned honors for their ambitious wine programs, …

Jun 27, 2022
Chateau Ste. Michelle Without the Chateau?

Chateau Ste. Michelle Without the Chateau?

Washington state's biggest winery puts its flagship Woodinville property on the market

Jun 24, 2022
2 Restaurants Win New Grand Awards in 2022

2 Restaurants Win New Grand Awards in 2022

Wine Spectator recognizes dining destinations in New York and Napa Valley with its top …

Jun 23, 2022