CNN-- They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but a new study shows a little bit of alcohol may do the same.
The data comes from the PLOS medicine journal. Not surprisingly, heavy drinkers have the highest risks of death and cancer. However, light drinkers, those who limit themselves to one to three drinks per week, have a lower combined risk of dying or developing cancer, than those who never drink.
Why? Well, that's still up for debate.
Studies on red wine suggest alcohol may have cardio-protective effects that reduce the risk of ailments like heart disease. However, some scientists say light drinkers tend to be more health-conscious anyway, leading to a lower chance of getting heart disease.
Both the American Cancer Society and the American Institute for Cancer Research recommend no more than two drinks for men and one drink for women per day.
Be careful, however, not all drinks are equal. One drink can mean 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.