6 Surprising Health Benefits of Drinking Moderately
By Devin Pratt
Year after year, more studies come out in support of the benefits of moderate drinking: the key word being “moderate.” While consuming a glass of wine or beer probably offers some health advantages, downing a bottle of Jack or a six-pack isn’t going to do your body any favors. Stick to one boozy beverage a day and you just might get a little help in staving off these six serious health issues.
Statistics released by the Center for Disease Control indicate that approximately 5.1 million people in the United States suffer from heart failure. Your best bet for fighting this deadly disease is daily exercise, a healthy diet and avoiding tobacco.
The good news? A drink a day may also help keep heart failure away, according to a study published in January in the European Heart Journal. The researchers suggest that middle-age men in their 40s, 50s and 60s who drink a small glass of wine, eight ounces of beer, or one shot of hard liquor per day could cut their risk of heart failure by 20 percent. Women saw a 16-percent reduction.
Every year in the United States, more than 795,000 people suffer a stroke. What’s more, strokes are the third leading cause of death for women. However, a 2012 study published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke suggests that women can reduce their risk of a stroke by consuming one alcoholic drink per day. Researchers believe that alcohol prevents blood clots and cholesterol buildup in the arteries, both of which contribute to strokes.
According to the World Health Organization, type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90 percent of all diabetes worldwide. While there is no substitute for daily exercise and a healthy diet, one study indicates that a drink a day may be beneficial. Researchers in a 2012 study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that moderate alcohol consumption helped reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 13 percent in men and 20 percent in women.
More than one million people in the United States are diagnosed with cancer each year.
Many studies have found that the antioxidants in red wine could be beneficial to combating this deadly disease. A study in the Journal of Women’s Health found that women who drank two eight-ounce glasses of wine per day had lower estrogen levels than their non-drinking counterparts due to the isoflavone phytoestrogens in red wine. This is good news because the more estrogen a women has, the greater risk of developing breast cancer. These isoflavone phytoestrogens can also be found in grapes.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. It turns out that drinking moderately could offer some benefits when it comes to this painful inflammation. A 2010 study published in the journal Rheumatology suggests that people who don’t drink are almost four times more likely to have rheumatoid arthritis than those who have at least one drink three times per week. Moreover, researchers found that arthritis sufferers who drink alcohol in moderation have less severe symptoms.
While there’s no escaping the effects of aging, there is hope for countering the ailments that come with getting older. For example, drinking one to two glasses of wine per day offers a slew of anti-aging benefits. Why? Because red wine is packed with antioxidants, including resveratrol, which protects cells, has anti-inflammatory properties and chases down the free radicals that contribute to diseases and other age-related ailments.