The power of positive drinking

There has been little good news lately for those who enjoy a daily tipple, but new findings suggest the habit may indeed come with health benefits.

Moderate drinking is linked to slower declines in high-density lipoprotein over time, US researchers report.

Their six-year study of 80,000 healthy Chinese adults found that HDL levels decreased over time for everyone, but moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a slower decline compared to non-drinkers or heavy drinkers.

In moderate drinkers (men drinking one to two alcohol servings daily and women a half to one serving daily) the decline was 0.17 mmol per year, but heavy drinking practically eliminated this benefit.

The researchers also analysed whether the benefits of alcohol consumption depended on the type of alcohol consumed.

They found levels of HDL also decreased more slowly with self-reported moderate beer consumption.