While it's clear that drinking alcohol during pregnancy, while driving a vehicle and while participating in many other activities is clearly unhealthy, moderate alcohol consumption in a responsible manner may provide a significant health benefit. According to Danish researchers, "the medical and scientific literature shows that moderate drinking (1–2 drinks/day for women and 2–4 drinks/day for men) is associated with a better life expectancy in the general population as well as in patients with established coronary heart disease." Other major studies have also found light to moderate alcohol consumption (1 to 2 drinks per day) can lower the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. In this study, researchers found non-drinkers had a 30 percent higher risk of heart disease compared to moderate drinkers, regardless of the amount of exercise they undertook. It should be noted, those with the lowest risk of dying from any cause were physically active, moderate drinkers while those at highest risk were physically inactive, heavy drinkers.
Source: European Heart Journal 2008 29: 4-6.