Drinking May Be Good for You

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Even men with high blood pressure apparently benefit from a few drinks now and then.

Until now, doctors advised them against drinking because alcohol increases blood pressure, but researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Boston have found that moderate amounts of alcohol increase "good cholesterol" and reduce heart attack risk even for men with hypertension.

It's the first study to expand on what earlier studies found in the general population. Lead researcher Dr. Michael Gaziano says the benefits are seen with a half-glass to one or two glasses of an alcoholic beverage per day.

More than that, he says, brings blood pressure and cancer risks that "offset the good things the alcohol is doing," and begins "to wash away the benefits."