If you’re looking to decrease your risk of a stroke, having a drink or two each day may be part of the solution.

A new study has found that drinking small quantities of alcohol may keep your cardiovascular system healthier and lower your risk of a deadly attack.

The study was in actuality a scientific review of several studies which examined the link between alcoholic intake and stroke risk. The results, which were published in BMC Medicine, concluded that drinking one to two alcoholic beverages per day decreased the risk of a stroke by up to 8%.

Doctors, however, warn that this doesn’t mean that non-drinkers should take up alcohol in order to curb their risk. Instead, they should mitigate it with measures such as exercise, keeping blood pressure low and a healthy diet.

On the flip side, drinking more than four drinks per day can dramatically increase stroke risk, so it is important that those who do consume alcohol are vigilant. In fact, drinking in excess can increase the risk of a stroke by as much as 14%.

The study concluded:

“Light and moderate alcohol consumption was inversely associated only with ischemic stroke, whereas heavy drinking was associated with increased risk of all stroke types with a stronger association for hemorrhagic strokes.”

In addition to consuming a small amount of alcohol each day, there are several things you can do to help lower your risk of a stroke or other cardiovascular event.

Exercising several times a day, both to keep your weight down and for overall health, is an important step in staving off a stroke or heart attack.

It is also recommended that those who have diabetes get it treated and keep it under control, as the disease itself can be a major risk factor for a stroke.

Finally, doctors across the board recommend that you stop smoking if you do so regularly. Smoking can up your risk of a stroke significantly, especially if you are already in poor health or also have diabetes.

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