The GOOD news about alcohol
There is no question that excess amounts of alcohol are extremely damaging both physically and mentally, but do we really need to cut it out altogether if we want optimum health? The research says perhaps not!
Alcohol might be good for your bones
Moderate alcohol intake has been shown to improve bone density in older men and post menopausal women. American research found that women who drank more than 2 glasses of wine a day had significantly better hip bone density than woman who didn’t drink at all. Men that drank 1 or 2 drinks per day – usually beer – had better hip bone density than tee totallers but if they had more than 2 drinks a day, then bone density was worse off. There was no protective effect on premenopausal women.
It’s likely that something other than alcohol itself helps to improve bone density because other liquors don’t have the same beneficial effect. Researchers suspect that it might be the antioxidants in wine and silica in beer.
Alcohol protects against heart disease
Women suffering from high blood pressure are less likely to develop coronary heart disease if they drink moderate amounts of red wine rather then not drinking at all. Light alcohol consumption also seems to reduce the risk of having a stroke. Similar research in men has shown that alcohol intake seems to reduce the likelihood of having a heart attack.
Wine might stop you from gaining weight
Researchers studied 9,000 people for 6 years and found that people who drank more than than seven drinks of beer or spirits a week, were more likely to gain weight, however, the people that drank wine were no more likely to gain weight than those who didn’t drink at all. A review of 31 studies published over 16 years reached the conclusion that there was no clear evidence that alcohol caused weight gain. In fact, they found that light to moderate drinkers seemed to be proteccted from gaining weight, especially if they drank wine.
Alcohol could strengthen your immune system
Alcohol abuse is known to suppress the immune system, but moderate intake seems to actually strengthen it. Spanish researchers had people abstain from alcohol for 30 days and then gave them one or two beers a day for the following 30 days. They then measured the immune levels in the participants’ blood and found that drinking beer increased their first line defence immunity.
How to use alcohol safely
Drink mostly wine – it seems to show the most health benefits
Only drink in moderation – a few small glasses per week is all you need to improve your health
Don’t drink if you have liver problems – if you’ve been told you have a fatty liver or any other liver condition, alcohol is not for you
Don’t drink until you’re older – most of the health benefits for chronic conditions only seem to kick in once you’re over 40
Don’t drink at all if you can’t be moderate – too much alcohol is far worse than none at all so if you can’t stop at a small amount, don’t drink at all