The pillars of good health are: diet, the exercise and the daiquiris of strawberries. Okay, maybe not. But it is not something that is as far from reality as you imagine.
"One of the most consistent findings in current nutrition research is that moderate alcohol consumption can improve health and prolong life," says Eric Rimm, Sc. D., associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.
But before you drink a whole bottle of champagne, keep in mind that moderation is the key to the benefits of alcohol. This means one drink per day on average for women and two for men (beyond that, you increase the risk of contracting many diseases). Stay within that range and the positive effects of alcohol will benefit your body in a surprising way. Here are five good reasons to give.
Protect your heart
Rose wine has long been considered the elixir of heart health. But you do not have to take a whole bottle of Merlot to make your heart happy, says Rimm. Moderate intake of any alcoholic beverage can lower the risk of coronary heart disease by up to 40%, according to a review of more than 100 prospective studies from the Harvard School of Public Health.
How it works: Much of the heart health benefit of alcohol has to do with its ability to raise good cholesterol (HDL) and decrease bad cholesterol (LDL), and reduce blood problems that can lead to clogging arteries (and the infarcts that this causes).
Take this: Pinot Noir. It contains more antioxidants, which fight against disease, than any other alcoholic beverage. Just make sure you put a cork after drinking a glass if you are a woman or two if you are a man.
Beat the growth of your belly
Forget the nasty increase in your belly for drinking beer. When consumed in moderation, alcohol can actually even help fight fat. A 2010 study published in The Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who drank one or two drinks per day were less likely to gain weight than those who did not drink alcohol.
How it works: researchers believe that the bodies of those who drink alcohol moderately for a long time somehow adapt to metabolize it in a different way to those who only drink a few drinks in their occasional night outings. In addition, women who drink moderate amounts of alcohol tend to eat less, particularly to eat fewer carbohydrates, according to Lu Wang, the study's lead researcher and instructor at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Take this: a bottle of light beer. The women in the Archives study were served no more than two glasses of 4 ounces of wine or two drinks of 1.5 ounces of liquor per day, which is much less than what you will get from most of the hands. bartenders or waitresses.Drinking from a bottle makes it easier to keep portions under control. Sam Adams Light, Michelob Ultra, and Guinness Draft all have low calories, without sacrificing flavor.
Reduces the risk of diabetes
Does a drink a day keep diabetes at bay? Surprisingly it can help. A 2005 report published in the Diabetes Care found that moderate alcohol intake, that is, up to one drink per day for women, and up to two drinks per day in men, reduces the risk of getting type two diabetes in up to 30%
How it works: Alcohol increases the levels of a hormone that improves insulin sensitivity. In other words, it makes it easier for your body to process glucose and use it as energy. This helps reduce the amount of sugar in the bloodstream, which ultimately results in a decreased risk of diabetes.
Take this: Bloody Mary. You will feel completely satisfied with a single serving and the lycopene antioxidant from the tomato game will offer you an extra benefit for the health of your heart.
Improve your intellectual capacity
Your brain is probably familiar with the negative effects of beverages (karaoke was such a good idea... until a video of your performance was posted on Facebook), but if you drink smartly, a small drink can help you avoid the decay of your cognitive functions. Researchers at Loyola University found that moderate alcohol users were 23% less likely to develop cognitive disabilities, Alzheimer's disease, and other forms of dementia, compared to those who did not drink.
How it works: the researchers hypothesize that because moderate alcohol intake raises good cholesterol, it can improve blood flow to the brain. Alcohol can also "strengthen" the cells of the brain, stressing them out a bit, preparing them to deal with the greater stress that will occur later in life and that can cause dementia.
Take this: bino. It has been found to be more beneficial than beer or brandy when it comes to improving intellectual capacity, according to the Loyola researchers.
Say goodbye to gallstones
Gallstones, hard deposits, similar to stones that form inside the gallbladder and are usually made of hardened cholesterol, can cause pain or clog the mouth of your bile. stomach. Avoid this unpleasant feeling by adding a little alcohol to your daily diet. Research shows that regular and moderate alcohol consumption (5-7 days per week) reduces the risk of gallstones forming. Conversely, an infrequent intake of alcohol (1 to 2 days per week) did not show any significant link in relation to such risk.
How it works: do you remember how alcohol raises the level of good cholesterol in your bloodstream?Well, it also affects the cholesterol present in your gallbladder. In addition, being overweight is one of the main risk factors for the development of gallstones, so a moderate intake of alcohol can reduce the risk of being formed by helping you maintain your weight in a healthy range.
Take this: Eppa Sangria. It is the first sangria certified as organic and has twice as many antioxidants as a glass of rosé wine. In addition, a glass only contains 120 calories.