Drinking too much alcohol is probably not the best thing for your mental or physical well-being, but having it in moderation may have significant health benefits. Note that alcohol consumption and its benefits vary based on an individual’s body makeup and type. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, “moderate alcohol consumption is defined as having up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. This definition is referring to the amount consumed on any single day and is not intended as an average over several days.” Most of us have heard many of the reasons why alcohol is bad for you, but what about the benefits? Here is a list of some ways that drinking in moderation may benefit your health (when you’re of the legal drinking age of course).
• Lowers the chance of Diabetes: A Dutch study showed that healthy adults who drink 1-2 glasses per day have a decreased chance of developing type 2 diabetes, in comparison to those that don’t drink at all.
• Alcohol can decrease chances of developing Dementia: In a study from the Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment journal, moderate drinkers were 23 percent less likely to develop cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Science Daily wrote, “We don’t recommend that nondrinkers start drinking.” “But moderate drinking - if it’s truly moderate - can be beneficial.” Alcohol is moderate amounts stresses cells and thus toughens them up to cope with major stresses down the road that could cause dementia.
• Red Wine helps prevent against the common cold: Spanish researchers found that by drinking 8-14 glasses of red wine per week, one could see a 60% reduction in the risk of developing a cold, most likely from the antioxidant properties of wine.
• Alcohol can improve your libido: In the Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers found that the chances of erectile dysfunction were reduced by 25-30% among alcoholic drinkers.
• Alcohol can lengthen your life: Drinking alcohol in moderation could add a few years to your life. Catholic University of Campobasso reported that drinking less than 4 or 2 drinks per day for men and women respectively could reduce the risk of death by 18%. Having a glass of wine during a meal is best, and then not again for the rest of the day.
• Alcohol can reduce the risk of gallstones: According to a study at the University of East Anglia, drinking 2 units of alcohol per day can reduce the risk of gallstones by 1/3. “Researchers emphasized that their findings show the benefits of moderate alcohol intake but stress that excessive alcohol intake can cause health problems.”
• Alcohol can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease: The school of Public Health at Harvard University found that “moderate amounts of alcohol raises levels of high-density lipoprotein HDL, or ‘good’ cholesterol and higher HDL levels are associated with greater protection against heart disease. Moderate alcohol consumption has also been linked with beneficial changes ranging from better sensitivity to insulin to improvements in factors that influence blood clotting…Such changes would tend to prevent the formation of small blood clots that can block arteries in the heart, neck, and brain, the ultimate cause of many heart attacks and the most common kind of stroke.” This finding is applicable to both men and women who have not been previously diagnosed with any type of cardiovascular disease.