A Drink (or Two) a Day Could
Keep the Doctor Away!
Pick your poison… wine, beer, or an after-dinner cocktail. The good news is that, for most people, none of these vices are poison at all.
In fact, each type of drink provides a range of health benefits that nearly anyone can take advantage of with very little risk. (There are exceptions, so read this full article to find out whether enjoying a drink or two a few times a week is a good idea or a health trap you should avoid.)
Wine is the alcoholic beverage best known for good health. But beer and other drinks can also support a healthy heart. And the benefits don’t stop there …
In Vino, Veritas…
and Good Health, too!
Red wine is renowned for its heart health benefits. Antioxidants and a unique compound called resveratrol make red wine a beneficial indulgence that can help stave off heart disease and general aging in your body.
But new research reveals even more benefits from this ancient pleasure.
Red wine also helps your digestive system. And, anything that helps your digestive system helps your immune system, energy levels, and overall health.
In a study published by the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that the polyphenols in red wine promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. These bacteria are known to help with digestion, and as their numbers climb, things like cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and blood pressure fall. Impressive results!
Our friends over at the Mayo Clinic also have good things to say about red wine. They, too, cite the polyphenols in red wine as the major benefit. In addition to the benefits we just shared, polyphenols may actually help to protect your arteries from damage.
So, if you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner on most nights of the week, you can do it knowing you’re doing a good turn for your body!
“Beer is proof that God exists,
and that he loves us.” – Ben Franklin
According to more than Benjamin Franklin, red wine isn’t the only libation that you can enjoy while giving your health a boost.
Good old-fashioned beer is another. Beer has several unique benefits that wine doesn’t. While wine can help to lower your blood pressure, beer is even better at helping keep blood pressure in a healthy range.
As you get older, bone loss can become a concern. Compounds in beer can actually help prevent calcium loss from bones, which means enjoying a beer now and again helps to keep your bones stronger as you age.
Beer has plenty of beneficial nutrients including B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and selenium. And, when compared to other alcoholic beverages, it’s a good source of fiber. Like other alcoholic beverages, beer is also good for your heart. It improves your cholesterol levels, and reduces your overall risks of heart attack and stroke.
When it comes to selecting a beer, go for those that are darker in color. They have more antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Microbrews are another good choice. They have a higher concentration of hops, which are a good source of polyphenols that help to fight cancer.
The Benefits of a Stiff Drink
Wine and beer aren’t alone in delivering health benefits. Any alcoholic beverage can offer some health benefit. That’s because alcohol itself helps support balanced cholesterol levels and lowers heart disease and stroke risks.
Mind what you’re mixing it with, though. High-calorie, sugary mixers don’t offer any health benefits at all. Opt for juices instead of sodas… or just go for plain soda water. A whiskey and soda is one of my favorite drinks to unwind with in the evening.
Like with anything else good, moderation is essential (another Benjamin Franklin idea!). While some alcohol can be good for you, too much is definitely a bad thing. Overdrinking leads to higher risks of cancer, liver disease, and heart disease.
If you drink, drink in moderation. People who enjoy up to one or two drinks a day – one for women, two for men – tend to see the greatest benefits. Habitually drinking more than that can trigger health problems rather than protect you from them.
In some cases, drinking is a bad idea. Women at risk of breast cancer or anyone at risk of colon cancer will benefit more from avoiding alcohol than indulging in it. If you have liver disease or rely on medications that interact with alcohol, those are also good reasons to skip having a drink.
If you don’t drink due to religious reasons, we totally respect that as well. Chances are that clean living and being a person of faith are benefiting your health in other significant ways.
For other people, one drink is too many. If that’s you, we totally salute your devotion to sobriety; you are way better off not drinking at all.
If you’re a moderate drinker, consider taking a daily multivitamin that contains folate. Alcohol offers lots of health benefits when you drink responsibly, but it also depletes some vitamins from your body. Taking a multivitamin will help keep your nutrients balanced and allow you to enjoy the full benefits while minimizing the drawbacks.
Hopefully it goes without saying that you shouldn’t drink and drive. And, if anyone close to you expresses concern with your drinking habits, it’s a good idea to hear them out and even talk to your doctor.
But for most, if you’re in good health, a drink a day can help to keep you that way. So, go ahead and raise a glass to your good health and long life. We’ll drink to that!