7 Surprising Benefits of Drinking Alcohol

First of all, if you’re not sure what the word “moderation” means, we can wait while you look it up in a dictionary. OK, got it? Great. So here we go: believe it or not, drinking alcohol in moderation has genuine, medically researched health benefits. If you’re an alcoholic, you need to find some other way to help fight cholesterol or boost your brainpower. But if you are an adult and enjoy having an evening glass of pinot noir, check out these seven surprising benefits of drinking alcohol.

  1. Lowers bad cholesterol:

    Nutritionists, physicians, and Americans who love pastries have all pondered why there is a low level of coronary heart disease in France, even though the French diet is high in saturated fats. Aside from the fact that the French take vacations while Americans run themselves into the ground, research indicates the antioxidants in red wine, a staple of French meals, promote good cholesterol while reducing bad cholesterol, which helps to prevent clogged arteries. To enjoy this benefit, women should have just one glass of wine a day, while men can have two. (And everyone should take more time off!)

  2. Reduces the risk of diabetes:

    Physicians want people to keep in mind that you can get the same health benefits that come with moderate alcohol consumption from other food items. That said, a recent study indicates that with women, alcohol may stimulate the body to release insulin and other substances, preventing sudden increases in blood sugar which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Previous research made this same connection, but more detailed studies need to be done to determine more precisely how alcohol helps to control spikes in blood sugar.

  3. Builds brain power:

    Wine creates good cholesterol, which in turn improves blood flow to the brain. Researchers believe that moderate drinking may also dilate vessels in your brain, creating cerebral blood flow, and fight against toxic proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. It’s also believed that alcohol creates a manageable amount of stress on brain cells, which helps them to cope with more significant stress that can lead to dementia.

  4. Prevents gallstones:

    Gallstones, ouch! If you’ve ever had them, you probably know that cholesterol is one of the main ingredients in a gallstone. The antioxidants in wine help promote good cholesterol throughout your body, including your gall bladder, reducing your risk of developing gallstones. If you’re overweight, you run a higher risk of gallstones, and as we’ll see in the next item, moderate alcohol consumption can help you maintain a healthy weight.

  5. Controls weight:

    So, if I want to lose weight, drink a six-pack or two a night? No, not exactly. There is evidence that over time, the body of a moderate drinker, two drinks a day for a man, one for a woman, is able to metabolize alcohol without excess weight gain. And five to seven drinks a week can help control snacking, late-night meals, and overeating in general. A single light beer can fill you up without the excessive calories, and thus help you control your appetite.

  6. Reduce tumors:

    Resveratrol is found in red grape skins and is attributed to preventing the accumulation of fat, reducing insulin resistance, and lowering your risk for diabetes. Some researchers also believe that resveratrol can prevent the development of blood vessels needed to feed a tumor, and even stop breast cancer cells from growing by blocking the growth effects of estrogen. However, there are recent studies that indicate the opposite, that the risk for women predisposed to breast cancer increases with their intake of alcohol. It is true that resveratrol, which is also sold as a supplement, has many health benefits. But if you drink, and especially if there is a history of any kind of cancer in your family, we strongly suggest you talk with your doctor about the connection between alcohol consumption and cancer.

  7. Strengthens bones:

    The next time you’re having cereal for breakfast, instead of milk, try pouring a Pale Ale over your Corn Flakes. Many beers, especially Pale Ale, contain high amounts of silicon, which, like calcium in milk, aids in bone density and health and fights osteoporosis. A study at Tufts University showed that men and women who drank beer or wine daily had higher bone density. The same study showed, however, that drinking in excess of more than two beers or glasses of wine a day actually weakened bones and increased the risk of fractures.