A 10-year study of 4,400 men and women aged 65 and over by researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston found a link between the amount of alcohol drunk and the likelihood of heart disease, reported the online edition of Daily Mail.
People who drink 14 or more glasses of wine or beer a week have the lowest risk of a heart attack, they said. Those who had between one and six drinks a week were seven percent less likely to have a problem than long-term abstainers.
For those who had seven to 13 drinks a week, the risk dropped by 20 percent and for those having 14 or more drinks, the risk was reduced by about 40 percent.
"In these people, consumption of 14 or more drinks a week was associated with the lowest risk of coronary heart disease," they said.
However, they warn that more research is needed before doctors recommend moderate drinking to prevent heart disease - current guidelines state that men should drink no more than four units a day and women no more than three.
It is not known how wine and beer affect the heart - some research suggests that antioxidants are responsible; other studies point to the blood-thinning effects of alcohol, which improves blood circulation.