Large study backs up those who buy wine for heart health

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A study of considerable size - some 15,000 men and women - seems to support the beliefs of those who buy wine in moderate amounts as a way to support the health of their heart.

For several years, wine has been associated with protective effects in cardiovascular health, often as part of the so-called 'Mediterranean diet' rich in natural oils, meat and fruit.

But the scientific research to back this up has been insufficient to confirm its effects on the risk of developing heart failure, according to an article in the European Heart Journal.

Now a team at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston in the USA have looked at data from the past 25 years relating to 14,629 participants.

They categorised these individuals by gender, and by alcohol intake - up to seven, 14 or 21 drinks per week, intake above that level, individuals who regularly abstain completely, and those who used to drink but then gave up.

Among moderate drinkers - up to seven 'drinks' (a small glass of wine, or half a pint of beer) per week - the risk of heart failure was 20% lower in men and 16% lower in women than in those who did not drink at all.

Interestingly, heavier drinkers showed no increased risk of heart failure, suggesting that if you buy wine in greater amounts, your cardiovascular health should not suffer as a result.