I just love it when medical science validates my behavior. Too often we hear that things we enjoy aren’t good for us. Well, I’m happy to share some recent findings that affirm the various health benefits of alcohol—the consumption of which has long been integrated into my lifestyle.
By now, we’ve probably all heard that red wine is good for our hearts. But as we boomers age—and staying healthy becomes more of a priority—here are some other ways in which adult beverages may enhance our lives:
Red wine helps burn fat
A study from Oregon State University found that a chemical called ellagic acid found in dark red muscadine grapes blocked the development of new fat cells and the growth of existing ones. It also increased the liver’s ability to break down excess fat. Burn, baby, burn!
Moderate drinking prevents colds
Two studies have shown that the antioxidants in red wine—consumed in moderation, of course—can help reduce the risk of getting a cold by a whopping 60 percent. Forget Airborne—get me a cab!
Wine boosts women’s libido
A study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reports that women who drank a small amount (one to two glasses) of wine had heightened sexual desire versus lady teetotalers. The study claims wine’s antioxidants trigger nitric oxide production in blood, which relaxes artery walls, thereby increasing blood flow (and feelings of arousal) “down there.” To paraphrase Ogden Nash, “Candy is dandy, but merlot-ing gets things going.”
Wine helps women live longer
If you enjoy a glass of wine or two in the evening, you go, girl. In a review of 24 studies, researchers observed that women who drink a glass of wine daily have lower rates of mortality than those who partake less frequently. L’chaim! A glass a day keeps the undertaker away.
White wine helps with weight loss
While red wine gets all the press for its health benefits, there’s evidence that white wine is the better option for weight loss. Chardonnay lover that I am, I take great comfort in this.
Red wine enhances exercise performance
Research published in the Journal of Physiology said that the resveratrol in most red wines can enhance exercise performance, improve muscle strength and heart function—all benefits similar to endurance training. Hoisting a glass of wine is my idea of a workout.
Beer lovers, don’t despair. There’s good news for you, too:
Beer protects brain cells
In 2015, the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported that a compound in beer called xanthohumol could protect brain cells from damage, potentially slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Don’t forget.
Beer beefs up bone density
Got beer? According to one study, beer’s high silicon content contributes to bone density—and women reap the most benefit. The study reported that women who consumed two brewskis a day saw their bone density increase up to 8.3%. Sounds way more fun than two glasses of milk a day.
Beer lowers a woman’s heart attack risk
Another reason for women to have a cold one: A 32-year-long Swedish study found that women who drink just one or two beers a week have a 30% lower risk of a heart attack than those who drink heavily or don’t drink at all. Go ahead, it’s for medicinal purposes.
Beer can reduce diabetes risk
Research suggests that people who drink beer in moderation (one a day for women, two for men) are 40% less likely to develop diabetes than those who drink too much or not at all. It’s that moderation thing again…
And for those who prefer hard liquor:
Tequila aids weight loss
Research suggests that the natural sugars (called agavins) in tequila are better than artificial sweeteners at aiding weight loss (in mice, anyway). You may extrapolate those findings to humans as you wish, amigos mios.
Vodka enhances creativity
A Cape Codder (vodka and cranberry juice) can get your creative juices flowing, according to a study published in Consciousness and Cognition. Researchers plied a bunch of guys with Cape Codders while another group stayed sober. Both groups were then asked to complete a verbal puzzle while watching a movie, and the guys with a buzz on solved the puzzle faster. Cheers!
Gin fights wrinkles as you drink
There’s a new brand of gin—aptly called Anti-aGin—that claims to rejuvenate your skin while you drink. It contains drinkable collagen—and a 2015 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology suggested that consuming this substance is actually effective at improving signs of aging skin. Could a gin and tonic be the fountain of youth? I’ll drink to that.
Finally, here’s one just for the guys:
Alcohol helps men get it up
Scientists from the University of Western Australia found that men who consumed alcohol (beer, wine or spirits) appeared to have 25% to 30% lower rates of erectile dysfunction vs. non-drinkers if their consumption was within guidelines for “low-risk drinking.” In Australia, that’s defined as up to four standard drinks a day on no more than five days a week. Who needs a little blue pill when there’s booze?
Alas, I could find no studies about Maine’s best-selling adult beverage: coffee brandy.
Now, in the interest of responsible blogging, I must say that just because booze confers certain health benefits doesn’t mean you should start drinking if you currently don’t or can’t. Plus, don’t assume that the more you drink, the healthier (or hornier) you’ll be—moderation is still the rule.
But if, like me, you’re relieved to know that you’ve got at least one healthy habit you’re able to stick with, well:
Whether cocktails or
life itself, drink up my friends.
Last call comes too soon.
What do you think? Do you find these studies validating? Do you feel less guilt about imbibing? Does it matter? Please share!