October 28/Boston/Daily Mail-- Women who like to have a daily drink, be it a glass of white or a rum and coke, can enjoy it knowing it is helping their hearts, researchers say.

A study from Harvard Medical School, found women who drank anything from a few beverages a month to more than three a week lived longer than women who remained tee-total.

The findings, which focused on more than 1,000 women and were published in the American Journal of Cardiology, add to mounting evidence that alcohol can boost heart health.

“One thing that was interesting was that we didn't see differences among different beverage types,” said study leader Joshua Rosenbloom.

“The most recent evidence suggests that it's the alcohol itself that's beneficial.”

The team found women had a similarly reduced risk of dying within the follow-up period whether they drank wine, beer or spirits.

“One drink a day is a really good target, assuming that a person can be disciplined about that,” commented Dr. James O'Keefe, a cardiologist at St. Luke's Health System in Kansas City, Missouri.

Researchers surveyed more than 1,200 women hospitalized for a heart attack. They asked questions about how many alcoholic drinks the women usually consumed, along with other health and lifestyle questions.

After at least 10 years of follow up, the team found that 44 out of every 100 women who had abstained from alcohol had died. This compared to 25 out of every 100 light drinkers and 18 out of every 100 heavy drinkers.

This meant drinkers had a 35% lower chance of dying following a heart attack compared to those who did not touch alcohol.

In an earlier study including men and women, O'Keefe found that people who continued to drink moderately after having a heart attack had better health than those who abstained.

“You don't need to assume that people need to stop drinking once they develop heart disease,” he said.

“The problem is that alcohol is a slippery slope, and while we know that a little bit is good for us, a lot of it is really bad.”

 From the October 28, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.