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Having a beer a day could protect you from heart attacks, scientists suggest.

Italian researchers have found that beer had a range of beneficial effects and drinking approximately 1.4 pints of beer a day could reduce the risk of heart diseases by 25 per cent.

The comprehensive review of 150 studies conducted by the Mediterranean Neurological Institute in Pozzilli suggests up to two small 330ml cans of beer a day is unlikely to damage a person's health.

Most women can drink a small can of beer a day, and most men two, without any big changes to their risk of getting dementia, most cancers, or other common diseases.

“Unless they are at high risk for alcohol-related cancers or ­alcohol dependency, there is no reason to discourage healthy adults who are already regular light or moderate beer consumers from continuing,” they wrote in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases.

Their study also found beer offers similar protection from heart diseases as wine, but more protection than spirits.

However, Dr Annie Britton, a lecturer in epidemiology from University College London, told The Independent: “We need to interpret this paper with caution. There is increasing concern that the epidemiological studies upon which this evidence is based are flawed.

"Comparing the health of moderate drinkers to that of abstainers (particularly, when ex-drinkers are included in the abstainer group) may reflect other differences between these groups.

"The cardio protective benefit that is attributed to alcohol, including beer, may be over-estimated.”
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