(NaturalNews) A Spanish study on alcohol consumption revealed that men who consume large amounts of alcohol cut their risk of heart disease by more than a third. At the same time, excessive alcohol consumption, which is responsible for 1.8 million deaths a year, will increase one's risk of developing many other diseases.
The study analyzed 41,500 people, both men and women, between the ages of 29 and 69. Participants were followed for ten years and were asked to keep documentation about their drinking habits. What researchers found was that men who consumed alcohol daily reduced their risk of developing heart disease by 35 percent. Women did not experience the same results.
More extreme levels of alcohol consumption among men, between three and eleven (or more) shots of hard liquor a day, suggested a 50 percent decrease in heart disease. It is believed that women do not experience the same effects from alcohol as men do because of differences in female hormonal activity and the methods by which females process alcohol.
While partially unclear as to how it works logistically, scientists understand that consumption of alcohol tends to raise high-density lipoproteins, also known as "good" cholesterol, which prevents bad cholesterol from accumulating in the arteries.
Intake of alcohol is linked to the development of another type of heart disease called cardiomyopathy, which is a weakening of the heart's ability to adequately function. Such a condition can result in death if not dealt with properly.
Experts reiterated the fact that while alcohol consumption may reduce one type of heart disease, it can cause many other problems including liver, brain, and pancreatic illnesses. The Stroke Association noted that high alcohol consumption increases one's risk of having a stroke by 300 percent.
While adding to existing literature on the subject of the alleged benefits of alcohol, experts from across the board warned people not to take the study as a license to binge drink. The risks far outweigh the benefits and, unless a person is very careful in monitoring his or her intake, he or she may easily go over what is considered moderate alcohol limits.
Better ways to prevent heart disease include limiting intake of unhealthy fats and excess processed foods. Some nutrient-dense foods that are known to assist in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels include blueberries, grass-fed meats, wild salmon, garlic, avocados, coconut oil, dark green vegetables, apples and raw almonds.