A few shots of soju, the most popular liquor in South Korea, a day can significantly lower the risk of strokes among males, a team of lcoal researchers said Friday.
According to the team of neurologists at Seoul National University hospital in Bundang, drinking three to four shots of soju reduced the possibility of suffering a stroke among males by around 50 percent.
It is the first time that soju, a diluted beverage containing ethanol and water, has been found to be helpful in preventing strokes, although beer and wine is known to have such a preventive effect.
According to the team, drinking soju was most helpful among the group who consumed one shot a day, by reducing such possibilities by 62 percent.
Those who drank two shots of soju daily reduced such risks by 55 percent, with the three-to-four shot group holding a comparable figure of 46 percent, researchers added.
A stroke occurs when cerebral veins fail to continue the flow of blood to the brain, causing its cells to die.
While there are two kinds of strokes, around 70-80 percent of those experienced by South Koreans are attributable to a blockage in blood flow, rather than those caused by bleeding.
As for women, drinking one to two shots reduced such possibilities, the researchers added.
"Previous research on the relationship between drinking and strokes was based on Westerners, who mostly consume wine or beer," they said. "It is significant to find the effect of locally brewed spirits on South Koreans."
An average South Korean consumed 8.73 liters of alcohol in 2013, with spirits accounting for 5.67 liters, according to the Korea Alcohol & Liquor Association.
The study was conducted on 1,848 patients aged 20 and above who were registered in its data base in 2011-2013, along with the comparison group of 3,589 participants.
Researchers, meanwhile, warned that the study only indicates the benefits of soju when consumed in a limited amount, adding that South Koreans should still refrain from drinking excessively. (Yonhap)