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Cheers! (Moderate) Drinking Could Be Good For Your Heart

Knocking back a cold one each day could help keep your "good" cholesterol levels high.

By Briana Altergott | November 22, 2016

Moderate alcohol consumption could be good for your heart.

A research team from Pennsylvania State University and Kailuan Hospital in China found knocking back a cold one each day could help keep "good" cholesterol levels high.

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Here's why that's a good thing for your heart: There are two types of cholesterol — low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, and high-density lipoprotein, otherwise known as HDL. LDL is the kind of cholesterol you don't want. It can cause plaque to build up in the arteries, which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. But HDL cholesterol actually helps take LDL cholesterol out of the arteries and carry it back to the liver, where it's broken down and flushed out of the body — thus the nickname "good" cholesterol.

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The researchers studied the drinking habits and HDL levels of 80,000 healthy Chinese adults over the course of more than six years. At the end of the study, they found that HDL levels decreased over time in all of the participants. But moderate alcohol consumption "was associated with a slower decline compared to non-drinkers or heavy drinkers."

Good news for brew lovers: The study found declines in HDL levels were slower among those who drank beer, compared to hard liquor consumers.

There weren't enough wine drinkers included in the research to test its effect on HDL. Sorry, winos.

Don't run out to the bar just yet. The study's authors say heavy drinking basically eliminates the HDL benefits here. Cheers to moderation.

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