Why Women Can Drink (Moderately) to Their Health
© George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock Step aside, apples. According to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, a drink a day
© George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock
Step aside, apples. According to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, a drink a day just might keep the doctor away for women.
- Moderate drinking may help women stay healthy longer.
Analyzing 14,000 responses from the long-term, ongoing Nurse’s Health Study, researchers found that women who at age 58 said they had one alcoholic drink a day were 20 percent more likely to experience “successful aging” (i.e., they reached age 70 with no serious physical, mental, or cognitive health issues).
- The health benefits are not tied to a single disease.
According to the doctors who conducted the study, the fact that moderate alcohol consumption seemed to benefit overall health rather than help prevent a specific ailment such as stroke, diabetes, or coronary heart disease is significant and has not previously been comprehensively studied.
- How often—and how much—a woman drinks matters.
The study revealed that women who drank a moderate amount over the course of a week experienced more health benefits than those who drank more, but less often. In other words, having one glass of wine a night is more likely to positively affect your health than having three glasses of wine two or three nights a week.
- Why do the frequency and amount matter?
Scientists don’t know for sure yet, and more research is needed. One popular theory is “the low dose effect,” in which a small amount of alcohol creates a positive effect but a larger amount prevents the body from processing those benefits.
- Should women who don’t consume alcohol start drinking?
In a word, no. Doctors who work in the field of alcohol abuse and addiction caution that these findings should not inspire women to start drinking or to drink more. Those who do enjoy a cocktail after work or a glass of wine or beer with dinner, however, can now have more reason than ever to toast to their health.
Source: The Huffington Post
Originally Published: September 18, 2011
Originally Published in Reader's Digest