Previous studies have shown the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption in preventing heart disease, but this is the first study to prove that alcohol is advantageous for heart patients as well.
The study, carried out by researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, found that continuing to drink after a heart attack cuts the risk of death from heart disease by almost 40 per cent.
Tests showed that those who gave up alcohol after their first heart attack were 4.5 times more likely to die from heart disease than non drinkers of long standing, reports the Daily Mail.
However, long-term abstainers were still worse off than moderate drinkers after their first heart attack, the researchers said.
They added that long-term abstainers were around 20 per cent more likely to have another heart failure or a stroke needing hospital treatment than moderate drinkers.
Researcher Dr Imre Janszky said that wine and spirits emerged to be protective but beer boosted the risk of heart attacks by about 50 per cent.
Dr Janszky and his colleagues used the entire Swedish population of Stockholm County aged between 44 to 70 years as the basis of their research.
The study is published in the European Heart Journal.