When it comes to booze and heart health, wine usually gets all the attention -- but it doesn't quite deserve it.

Sure, wine is great for you -- but it's not the only healthy adult beverage in the bar.

In fact, you can get just about all the benefits of wine and then some from plain old beer -- and the latest research confirms that a cold brew is every bit as good for your heart as a glass of red.

Researchers from Italy's Fondazione di Ricerca e Cura say their survey of 200,000 people from around the world finds that regular beer drinkers have a 31 percent lower risk of heart disease than people who don't drink booze at all.

That's precisely the same decrease in heart risk enjoyed by wine drinkers -- but it's coming from hops and barley instead of grapes, according to the study in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

And that's not all beer can do for you -- not even close. Beer is also rich in potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and key antioxidants. It can help lower the inflammation linked to heart disease and other serious problems, and raise levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol by as much as 12 percent.

Beer is also the single best source of dietary silicon around, which can help protect your bones as you age.

One study even found that dieters who drink beer can lose more weight -- proving that the so-called "beer belly" is a myth. If you see a drinker with a big belly, take a look at what he's eating -- because that's almost certainly the real reason for his keg-sized gut.

Of course, whether you drink wine or beer, you'll only get the benefits if you make your habit a moderate one and cut yourself off before you drink too much (and if you have to wonder if you've had too much, you've probably reached that point).

Keep it to a glass or two a night, and you'll enjoy both the benefits and the taste.

So go ahead -- pop the cork or crack open a frosty one. It's good for you.