Moderate drinking has been linked to a decrease in heart disease for a number of reasons. For one, alcohol may help raise your level of good cholesterol (high density lipoproteins, or HDL) and decrease inflammation. In addition, it can thin your blood, which helps work against clots that cause stroke and heart disease. Furthermore, it can give a nice boost to levels of heart-protecting estrogen, which is especially helpful for postmenopausal women with lower estrogen.
There's a bit of a catch, though -- if you don't already drink, the benefits don't warrant starting. Moderate alcohol consumption can increase your risk for other diseases, such as some cancers. Weigh the pros and cons for your personal situation and speak with your doctor.
Harvard School of Public Health defines moderate consumption as two drinks daily for men and one for women -- with a serving as 5 ounces for wine, 12 for beer and one and a half for hard liquor. And when it comes to choosing your drink of choice, the school says all alcoholic beverages appear to carry the same health benefits.