Although it's important for individuals to monitor their alcohol intake, many may be surprised to find out that there are actually health benefits to enjoying a couple beverages. Studies on both beer and wine have shown that these drinks can provide individuals with positive effects. However, it's important to note that this is only true when booze is consumed in moderation.
Know the limits
It's OK to enjoy a glass of wine or mug of beer with dinner, while celebrating a special event or in other social settings, if you're smart about it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, females who consume more than one alcoholic beverage on a daily basis are drinking too much – for males, that number is two.1 So, what makes up a serving?
- 1.5 ounces of liquor
- 5 ounces of wine
- 8 ounces of malt liquor
- 12 ounces of beer
When drinking, you may want to opt for certain options over others.
Benefits of beer
Recently, there has been a great deal of evidence published surround the health benefits associated with different types of alcohol. Although beer has in the past been slated as unhealthy, often linked to the arthritis disease gout, when drank in moderation, it can provide a decreased risk for cardiovascular disease.2 In fact, beer actually contains more protein and B vitamins that other booze, and it has a great deal of antioxidants – these come from the barley and hops used during fermentation, according to researchers from the University of Texas.
In addition to the amount of beer you drink, you'll want to take into consideration what kind you are sipping on. Those that are labeled "light" have both lower alcohol contents and less calories.3 The darker and heavier beers will add on the empty calories and pack a punch when it comes to feeling a buzz. So, if you want to grab a beer with a friend after work, simply enjoy the right beers in moderation.
Wonders of wine
When people stay within the reasonable limits of wine consumption, the benefits can be numerous. Investigators from Sri Ramachandra University have compared the occurrences of a variety of diseases in individuals. Specifically, findings between those who completely abstained, drank in moderation and had too much wine were compared. It was found that cardiovascular and neurodegenerative mortalities were lower in the moderate group, compared to both of the other categories. These benefits were attributed to compounds such as resveratrol, which is found naturally in the grapes that are used to make wine.4
Additionally, wine was recently found to decrease the risk of depression in patients when drank in moderation. A large group of researchers from Spain wanted to see how alcoholic beverages affected those who had been diagnosed with the mental disorder. Based on data gathered from 5,505 high-risk males and females, wine was found to be the most beneficial in depression prevention. This was only true when two to seven drinks were consumed on a weekly basis. In fact, those who drank in excess were at a greater risk for struggling with feelings of sadness.5
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1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Fact Sheets – alcohol use and health" October 1, 2012
2 National Institutes of Health, "Nutritional and health benefits of beer" November 2000
3 Upwave, "Why the health is this good for me?: Beer"
4 National Institutes of Health, "Health benefits of wine and alcohol from neuroprotection to heart health" January 1, 2012
5 BMC Medicine, "Alcohol intake, wine consumption and the development of depression: the PREDIMED study" August 30, 2013