Booze: It’s a magical substance that gives us the ability to feel happy, warm, and to let go of our inhibitions. Just a shame that it’s so bad for our health, right?
Admittedly as a general rule, it isn’t great, especially when we binge away. But drank in moderation – one drink a day for women and two for men – there are several surprising health benefits it can bring us.
It can reduce the chance of heart disease
Yep. Unless you already have signs of heart disease (obvs), more than 100 studies have shown that moderate drinking can protect against cardiovascular disease in both men and women by 25-40%.
According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, moderate amounts of alcohol raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) - or ‘good’ cholesterol - and higher HDL levels are associated with greater protection against heart disease. Who’da thought it?
It can reduce the risk of diabetes
It’s the last thing you’d expect alcohol to help, but according to a Dutch study, moderate drinking could reduce ones risk of developing type two diabetes by 30%.
Non-drinkers and binge-drinkers, meanwhile, are at greater risk than their low-level-drinking counterparts.
It’ll keep your cold at bay
[Photo: Flickr/Tina Franklin]
Perhaps you shouldn’t swear off a visit to the pub when you’re feeling sniffly.
Apparently, by drinking a moderate amount of beer or wine – which are ‘polyphenolic-rich’ alcoholic beverages – you prevent the suppression of your immune system, and you could be less prone to infections as a result. Thank you, Department of Metabolism and Nutrition at Madrid.
And make your existing cold more bearable
[Photo: Flickr/L.A. Foodie]
Sadly, booze isn’t the cure for the common cold, but it can relieve you of your symptoms.
Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee, told ABC that alcohol dilates blood vessels a little bit, which makes it easier for your mucus membranes to deal with an infection.
He also said that warm moisture from a steaming drink helps too, so bring on the hot toddies.
It can improve your sex life
This one’s for you, gentlemen. While a night of drinking will make you as horny as ever but – er – affect performance, the long-term effects of alcohol upon impotence are a bit different.
In a study conducted by the University of West Australia, those who drank experienced rates of impotence 25-30% below that of teetotallers.
In other words, booze could help you perform in the long run even if it can lead to disappointment on the night.
It’ll make you more creative
Alcohol may worsen our memory and our general awareness, but due to this loss of focus, we’re also able to think more creatively.
In one study on alcohol and creative problem solving by the University of Illinois, two groups were asked to complete a series of word association tests. One group drank, the other didn’t, and guess which group answered more questions both correctly and more quickly.
Yup, it was the intoxicated ones. They were also more likely to perceive their solutions as the result of a “sudden insight” – in other words, they had a ‘eureka’ moment. Inspirational.
It can make you live longer
Good news for wine lovers: In a 40-year study of almost 1,400 men by Wageningen University in the Netherlands, those who drank a moderate amount of wine daily lived up to five years longer than those who didn’t drink alcohol.
Those who drank a mixture of boozes – such as beer and spirits as well as wine – extended their lives by around two years in comparison to teetotallers, too.
Good news all round. But before you crack open the red wine, remember to drink responsibly, folks.
Does the occasional glass of red make you feel healthier? Tweet us at @YahooStyleUK.