Red wine has a reputation of being a heart-healthy drink, but it turns out any drink in the right amount will do.

Researchers from The Norwegian University of Science and Technology teamed up with the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm to examine the effects alcohol had on the heart. The first study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, zeroed in on how alcohol affects the risk of heart failure. They recruited 60,665 participants between the years 1995 and 1997 and tracked their alcohol consumption and medical history. A total of 1,588 developed heart failure during that period, with the highest risk found among those who either rarely or never drank alcohol or overindulged.

Those who drank five or more times a month had a 21 percent lower risk compared to non-drinkers or those who drank very little. But those who drank between one and five times a month had a 2 percent lower risk.

In the second study, published in the International Journal of Cardiology, 58,827 participants were categorized by how much and often they drank. Of those, 2,966 participants experienced a heart attack between 1995 and 2008. For every additional one drink a person consumed, the risk of having a heart attack dropped by 28 percent.

"It’s primarily the alcohol that leads to more good cholesterol, among other things," the study’s co-author Imre Janszky, a social medicine professor at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in a press release. "But alcohol can also cause higher blood pressure. So it’s best to drink moderate amounts relatively often."

Researchers observed that the risk of dying from heart disease increased once a participant reported consuming five drinks or more a week. Long-term alcohol abuse weakens and thins the heart muscle causing the heart to struggle pumping blood efficiently. Janszky stressed the key to reaping heart-healthy benefits from alcohol are drinking in moderation and not causing more help than harm.

"I’m not encouraging people to drink alcohol all the time," Janszky said. "We’ve only been studying the heart, and it’s important to emphasize that a little alcohol every day can be healthy for the heart. But that doesn't mean it’s necessary to drink alcohol every day to have a healthy heart."

Source: Janszky I, G é mes K, and Ahnve S, et al. Light-to-moderate drinking and incident heart failure—the Norwegian HUNT Study. International Journal of Cardiology. 2016.

Gemes K, Janszky L, Laugsand LE, et al. Alcohol consumption is associated with a lower incidence of acute myocardial infarction: results from a large prospective population-based study in Norway.  Journal of Internal Medicine. 2016.