When it comes to alcohol, we frequently hear the dangers of binge drinking and lack of nutritional benefits. For those of us who are moderate drinkers, however, we seem to never hear about the benefits of consuming a drink everyday. Though drinking alcohol in excess does have its dangers, having one to two drinks a day can actually boost your health and help protect you against disease, not to mention that drinking moderately has some social components that can have a positive impact on our mental health. "I tell my patients to relax with good friends or family and enjoy an alcoholic beverage or at most two a day knowing it's a fun, healthy and enjoyable lifestyle," says The Biggest Loser physician Dr. Robert Huizenga.
Though there are certain instances where having even a single drink may not be for you, such as if you have a history of alcoholism, you're pregnant, or tend to binge drink, but for most people, having a drink, especially of beer and wine, can help protect against aging and disease in the future. Below are seven scientifically-proven reasons why having a drink a day is healthy for you.
1. It Lowers Your Risk Of Heart Disease
According to a study published in the Oxford University press, drinking one glass of beer or wine everyday can reduce risk of cardiovascular disease up to 20 percent. Moderate amounts of alcohol increase HDL, your good cholesterol, which provides greater protection against heart disease, according to Harvard University School of Public Health.
2. It Fights Cancer
Though drinking too much can have the reverse effect, drinking a glass of red wine a day or a pint of a hop-heavy beer like an IPA can help lower your risk of cancer, according to studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology and Phytochemistry, respectively. Both and wine and beer contain antioxidants that help fight carcinogens and damage from oxidative stress.
3. It Can Lengthen Your Lifespan
Research published in the American Journal of Health has found that moderate drinkers actually have a longer life expectancy than non-drinkers. This could be because of the myriad of health-protecting benefits of drinking, or it could even have something to do with the fact that drinkers are often happier than non-drinkers, according to TIME. Either way, it's another excuse for a cheers!
4. It Can Strengthen Your Immune System
Knocking one back per day may seem like it would weaken your body, but turns out, having one drink a day can actually help protect you against the common cold, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health. This is especially the case with wine, as it contains high levels of antioxidants that help boost your body's immune response, according to the American Journal of Epidemiology.
5. It Can Prevent Dementia
Low-to-moderate consumption of alcohol is linked with a lower risk of cognitive decline such as Alzheimer's Disease, and it can lower your risk up to 50 percent, according to an article published by the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation. This effect was shown from all types of alcohol, but it is especially highest in red wine, likely because of its abundant antioxidant levels.
6. It Can Strengthen Bone Density
Drinking beer, especially pale malts, which contain high amounts of dietary silicon, can help increase your bone density. This is because silicon can help with the growth and development of bone tissue, helping fight against osteoporosis and low bone mass.
7. It Can Prevent Diabetes
Along with eating well and exercising, drinking a pint of beer daily can help reduce your risk of type-2 diabetes by up to 30 percent, according to the American Diabetes Association. Keep your alcohol intake between one and four drinks and you're good to go.
When it comes to alcohol, moderation is key. Drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol can quickly cross from healthy to unhealthy, but as far as having a few drinks at happy hour goes — now you can relax and enjoy even more knowing you may be doing your body a favor.