Can Alcohol Ever Be Good for Your Health?

in general 29 July 2016

Can Alcohol Ever Be Good for Your Health?

Alcohol is a big part of many people's lives. We use it to help us relax at the end of a tough day, as a social lubricant if we find it hard to talk to strangers, and as a bonding mechanism when out with friends.

Drinking alcohol has now become so socially acceptable in western cultures that many people routinely open a bottle of wine at the end of the day. Alcohol is readily available in stores, bars and clubs, so if you fancy a drink you won't need to travel too far to find one. But not everyone drinks. Some people consider alcohol dangerous and prefer to be tee-total for health reasons. Of course there is nothing wrong with abstaining from alcohol, but would you take a different view if you discovered that drinking alcohol was actually good for you?

Don't Drink to Excess

Everyone knows that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us and whether you drink wine every night or overdo it at a party, it is not good. When alcohol is abused, it can lead to liver damage, brain damage, and eventually death - hardly an attractive proposition. However, when drunk in moderation, there are some surprising health benefits to drinking alcohol - and here are a few of them.

Live Long and Prosper

In countries where alcohol is a routine part of everyday life, people live longer. It might sound crazy, but if you drink a glass or two of wine with your meal every day, you could reduce your risk of premature death by as much as 18%. However, if you drink four or more glasses of wine every day, you lose all the protection afforded by alcohol.

Protection against Dementia

Dementia becomes an increasing risk as we grow older, but if you enjoy a few drinks here and there, according to research published in a major medical journal you are 23% less likely to develop Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Scientists believe that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol makes brain cells tougher and more able to cope with the stresses caused by the onset of dementia.

Prevent Heart Disease

Small amounts of alcohol help to increase the levels of high density lipoprotein, or 'good' cholesterol. HDL protects us against heart disease, so if you have a history of heart disease, a moderate amount of alcohol could be a good thing.

Reduced Chance of Developing Diabetes

If you drink one or two units of alcohol a day, you are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, as long as the rest of your lifestyle is reasonably healthy.

Say No to Gallstones

Research has shown that just one or two small glasses of alcohol a day can reduce your risk of developing painful gallstones.

Drinking in moderation is the key to realising health benefits from alcohol. Once you start drinking more than four glasses of wine a day, you are putting your health at risk. So rather than finishing off the bottle, put the cork in and save it for another day. Your body will thank you.

The British Wheel of Yoga