As more and more research comes out in support of moderate beer consumption, we can only hope that people have a firm understanding of the word “moderation.” A recent study conducted by researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg has found that women who drink beer in moderation are at a 30 percent lower risk for a heart attack compared to women who drink beer heavily and women who don’t drink beer at all.

"Previous research also suggests that alcohol in moderate quantities can have a certain protective effect, but there is still uncertainty as to whether or not this really is the case,” said Dominique Hange, researcher at Sahlgrenska Academy, in a statement.

Hange and her colleagues gathered data from 1,500 women who were asked to rate the frequency of their beer, wine, or spirit consumption. Frequency ranged from “daily” to “nothing in the past in the past 10 years,” and each woman was asked about various physical symptoms they may have been experiencing, including medical conditions. Researchers conducted 32 years of follow-up as part of an ongoing study by Gothenburg that started back in the late 1960s. Women were between the ages of 70 and 92 by the end of the study.

Between 1968 and 2000, 185 women from the study suffered a heart attack, 162 suffered a stroke, 160 developed diabetes, and 345 developed cancer. Women who reported high consumption of spirits (more than once or twice per month) were almost 50 percent more likely to die of cancer compared to women who consumed less alcohol. Women who reported moderate consumption of beer (once or twice per week to once or twice per month) had a 30 percent lower risk for suffering a heart attack compared to women who drank beer several times per week or didn’t drink beet at all.

“Our results have been checked against other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, which substantiates the findings,” Hange added. “At the same time, we were unable to confirm that moderate wine consumption has the same effect, so our results also need to be confirmed through follow-up studies.”

As microbrews have grown in popularity, researchers have been quick to analyze different ingredients in certain beers that may have potential health benefits. For example, not only do certain beers contain essential B vitamins, including vitamins B6 and B12, riboflavin, and folate, but it also provides as much silicon as whole grains and vegetables. Studies on silicon have shown that the supplement can improve bone density and strength in both animals and humans. A recent study out of France even suggests beer drinkers are healthier food shoppers.

Source: Bengtsson C, Sundh V, Björkelund C, Sigurdsson J, Hange D. A 32-year longitudinal study of alcohol consumption in Swedish women: Reduced risk of myocardial infarction but increased risk of cancer. Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care. 2015.