A study conducted in Isreal has suggested that moderate beer consumption could help to reduce the risk of heart attacks. The preliminary clinical studies of a group of men with coronary artery disease indicated that drinking one 12-ounce serving of beer a day for a month produced changes in blood chemistry associated with a reduced risk of heart attack.

The findings are due to be published at the end of January in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. It will form part of a growing body of evidence suggesting associations between moderate alcohol consumption and reduced risk of heart disease.

The reason for the reduced risk of heart attack produced by beer consumption appears to rest in the resulting decreased levels of cholesterol, an increase in antioxidants and reduced levels of fibrinogen, a clot-producing protein.

Forty-eight men, aged between 46 and 72 with coronary artery disease were split into two groups, one group being given a 12 ounce serving of beer a day, and the others drinking mineral water. All ate a similar fruit and vegetable-rich diet during the 30-day period. The researchers found positive changes in 21 of the 24 patients in the beer-drinking group.