This Is Exactly How Much Alcohol You Should Drink
Well—if your goal is to have a really healthy brain.
You’ve probably already heard that a little red wine is great for the heart, thanks to the resveratrol that helps keep the blood flowing, or that having a glass before bed can have some of the same weight loss benefits as a half hour of exercise, thanks to the way in which resveratrol turns white fat into the easier-to-shed brown kind. (Or it could be one of the 80 other reasons drinking wine can be really good for you.)
But a recent study, conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center and published in the journal Scientific Reports, shows that low levels of alcohol can also be good for the brain. And we’re not just talking about heart-healthy wine, either. The study notes that it’s “any alcohol,” meaning everything from beer to wine to distilled spirits—just so long as it’s two units a day. (For the record, that comes to 12 oz for beer, 5 oz for wine, 1.5 oz for spirits.)
“In this study we have shown for the first time that low doses of alcohol are potentially beneficial to brain health, namely it improves the brain’s ability to remove waste,” said Maiken Nedergaard, co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and lead author of the study.
The idea that alcohol, in small quantities, can remove toxins from the brain and reduce has significant longterm implications, the chief one being that it implies a little booze can help prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Their findings are in keeping with a 2013 study by the University of Reading that concluded that drinking three glasses of champagne per week can ward off Alzheimer’s and boost your memory.
This study has some of the same limitations as that one, namely, the fact that in both cases the study was conducted on mice.
Nonetheless, it adds to a growing body of research that indicates drinking one or two glasses of red wine per day has loads of health benefits.
As the authors of the study point out, the emphasis here is on moderation. “Studies have shown that low-to-moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lesser risk of dementia,” Nedergaard said, “while heavy drinking for many years confers an increased risk of cognitive decline. This study may help explain why this occurs. Specifically, low doses of alcohol appear to improve overall brain health.”
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as having up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.
This lines up with the wise words of one 102-year-old Italian woman who recently gave great advice on how to live a long life: “Two fingers width of red wine, and no more, at lunchtime every day.”
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