Ever wonder, "What are the health benefits of alcohol?" while you relax with a glass of wine or beer? Good news: Most women over age 40 actually do get some health perks from a daily drink! In fact, new research shows these benefits of alcohol can improve your health in ways that seem too-good-to-be-true, which is why we found the science to back up the claims.
What are the health benefits of alcohol?
The next time you sit down to sip some much-deserved wine, you can feel good about your choice. A Harvard study found that women who sip one glass of wine a day typically have less body fat overall, and specifically less belly fat. "Your body burns alcohol as fat, rather than sugar, and that has a metabolism-increasing effect," explains Catherine Shanahan, MD, author of Deep Nutrition ($19.03, Amazon). Plus, wine drinkers tend to guzzle less sugary soda and eat fewer sweets.
Red wine is often celebrated in particular for its possible heart-health benefits, according to the Mayo Clinic. But don't think that you need to pick a red if it's not usually your first choice. Champagne and other bubbly wines happen to be packed with organic acids that improve functioning in memory-centered areas of your brain, according to UK research. Since we all could stand keep memory sharp as we age, this one is surely welcome news.
If you're more of a beer person, there's a major perk to opting for your favorite brew. Women who drink about one beer a day have stronger and thicker healthy bones compared to non-drinkers, a recent Spanish study shows. The brew’s bone-building powers come from silicon, a compound that helps grow bones and connective tissue. Beer also contains plant hormones (phytoestrogens) that reduce your fracture risk.
While it's exciting to know that a happy hour drink could possibly benefit your health, it's important to keep in mind that moderation is key. American Heart Association pros say that women who have just a drink a day are less likely to experience heart disease than non-drinkers — and those who drink more. Alcohol in moderation can also help prevent blood clots.
It just goes to show that a little bit can go a long way.