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November 01, 2016

Are there health benefits from drinking alcohol?

Adult Health Healthy Living

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Whether drinking with friends after a long week or toasting at a social event, alcohol can be part of the fun and conversation. Even though about 87.6 percent of the United States adult population has consumed alcohol, only 24.7 percent are actually heavy drinkers. And heavy drinking comes with its health risks, including liver disease, heart disease and brain damage.

But don’t let this kill your buzz if you like having a few drinks, because here’s something that will make your day: Drinking alcohol in moderation has health benefits!

What exactly does drinking in moderation mean? According to 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.” Some drinks, however, are better for you than others. Wine is one of the better alcoholic drinks you can get your hands on — it is full of antioxidants — while beer has the most carbohydrates out of any alcoholic drink, which is not good news if you’re trying to lose weight.

A drink (or two) a day will help keep your health up, and here’s how:

Add years to your life

A glass of wine or a beer after work can do more than help you relax. When imbibed in moderation, alcohol can actually add up to five years to your life.

And what drink of choice will help you live longest? The answer is wine! A study conducted over a 40-year period concluded: “men who drank only wine, and just under half a glass of it a day, lived around two-and-a-half years longer than those who drink beer and spirits.” And this doesn’t just go for men — women drinking a glass of wine a day can have this same health benefit, too!

Fight fat

Losing weight can feel like a never-ending battle, so here’s some news that you’re going to love — alcohol, when consumed in moderation, can help fight off belly fat. It can also help you consume less food, which helps keep belly fat at bay. Remember, moderation is key because if you drink too much, that’s when you’ll see the opposite effect.

Boost your brain

When too much alcohol is consumed in a short span of time, side effects like blurry vision, trouble walking and slurred speech occur. However, when sipped in moderation, alcohol can actually have some positive effects on the brain! How can alcohol boost your long-term cognition?

Ethanol in alcohol helps your brain stay sharp by protecting the neurons in your brain against damage that can eventually lead to dementia. Remember, however, that too much ethanol will actually kill brain cells as your body can only handle so much alcohol before deteriorating.

Look younger

Did you know that wine can help preserve youthful skin? How? It’s because the red grapes used to make it are filled with antioxidants! And antioxidants, as found in other fruits, keep your body safe from oxidants, a harmful form of oxygen that can damage your cells.

In order to access the youth that red wine has to offer, it may be OK for you to drink about two glasses of wine a day, no more. By keeping your wine intake down, you’ll be enjoying the healthy side effects it has to offer in no time!

Alcohol lovers rejoice — your favorite drinks have health benefits, with wine being the most beneficial! So keep your wine glasses out, and don’t close your liquor cabinet up — just remember not to keep it open all the time! It can be tempting to go for more drinks than needed, but when it comes to your health, less will help you live a better, longer life.

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