Most people are aware that a glass or wine per day can help to prevent heart disease and it has generally been understood that you should only take a small glass. Well, these guidelines may have changed!

New research shows that red or white wine also has benefits for people who have already suffered a heart attack.

This study was published in the International Journal of Cardiology and is looks at how wine affects mortality in people who already have a serious heart condition.

Both men and women consuming around half a litre (1.1 pints) of red or white wine a day were 13 per cent less likely to suffer another cardiac event, such as heart attack.

Not only that, they also reduced their chances of dying from heart disease by about 17 per cent, compared to non drinkers.

However it should be noted that the researchers from Harvard Medical School and research centres across Italy that these findings only applied to people who were already drinking wine on a regular basis.

So, this is not to say that you should take up drinking if you do not already just to try and prevent future problems.

Red wine in particular has been found to have a protective effect when consumed as part of a healthy diet along with high intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. It is this diet that is thought to be responsible for lower heart disease rates in Mediterranean countries

The study involved 11,248 Italian men and women who had recently experienced and survived a heart attack.

Both dietary habits and wine intake were monitored to see what percentage suffered further cardiac events in the three and a half years after their attack and how many died in the seven years afterwards.

The test results showed that those drinking up to half a litre of wine a day were 13 per cent less likely to have a cardiac event and had a mortality rate 17 per cent lower than the non wine drinkers.

A spokesman said “In our study, subjects who drank wine appeared healthier than those who did not drink and we also found dietary habits were worse in those with high wine intake.”

It should be noted that there are more healthier ways to protect your heart such as keeping physically active, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and stopping smoking. Stopping smoking alone will have more benefit than all the others put together!