For Beth Korslund, a 5K race followed by a German Kolsch-style ale make for a perfect day. “A hot, sweaty run and a cold beer just seem to go together,” says Korslund, a personal fitness trainer, CrossFit competitor and avid skier from Lafayette, Colorado. “I just really like beer.”

As it turns out, Korslund may be onto something more than enjoying a post-race refresher. Research is piling up, experts say, to show that alcohol—beer, wine and stronger spirits—are a source of health benefits, especially when it comes to the heart. Rigorous studies from prestigious institutions, such as the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, report that, yes, a cold one every day may indeed reduce your risk of a life-altering or deadly disease. However, because this is alcohol we are talking about and not fruits or vegetables, researchers like Harvard’s Elizabeth Mostofsky are quick to point out that unlike eating too many carrots, too many drinks carry unhealthy and dangerous risks.

“We have extensive evidence that moderate habitual consumption of alcohol carries health benefits whereas heavy drinking is harmful,” she says.

But it’s a complicated field of research, and it is important to consider concerns of alcohol abuse or addiction, risks of alcohol during pregnancy, and risks of consuming alcohol alongside certain medications, she warns.

Having the best, most current data allows consumers to make sound personal health care decisions along with their doctors—who may not know the latest research on alcohol—researchers say. And adopting a more mindful approach overall to drinking alcohol, some experts say, has added social benefits.