Drinking This Much Wine a Day Is Good for Your Brain, Study Finds

It turns out alcoholic beverages can actually help your cognitive function.

If you're looking for one simple (and enjoyable) way to boost your brain power daily, we have good news: A recent study found that drinking a certain amount each day is actually beneficial for your brain. According to June 2020 research out of the University of Georgia, light to moderate drinking may in fact preserve cognitive function in older age. To see how much wine you should be drinking daily to benefit your brain, read on, and for more beverages that pack a powerful punch, Drinking This 3 Times a Week Can Help You Live Longer, Study Finds.

One to two drinks a day can benefit your brain.

Pensive senior man drinking red wine at home and looking away
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There's a long-held perception that light wine drinking can help you maintain strong cognitive function. "We know there are some older people who believe that drinking a little wine every day could maintain a good cognitive condition," study lead author Ruiyuan Zhang, a doctoral student at UGA's College of Public Health, said in a statement.

This study set out to see if that belief stands up to science. As it turns out, this conviction isn't just something people say to justify an extra glass of wine after dinner. Researchers found that "compared to non-drinkers, those that had one or two drinks a day tended to perform better on cognitive tests over time." And for a look at the country's drinking habits, This Is the Drunkest State in America.

People who drink this much had lower rates of cognitive decline.

Two glasses of red wine on table with senior couple relaxing in background on sofa with smartphones in their hands. (Two glasses of red wine on table with senior couple relaxing in background on sofa with smartphones in their hands., ASCII, 116 compon
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The study tracked the cognition of nearly 20,000 participants over the course of 10 years. Every two years, respondents answered a series of questions on various aspects of their life, including drinking habits. The participants' cognitive function was measured through a series of tests, including word recall and vocabulary, to gauge their overall mental status. The middle- to older-aged participants who engaged in light to moderate drinking—defined as fewer than eight drinks per week for women and 15 drinks or fewer per week among men—scored higher on the cognitive tests and showed lower rates of decline in each domain. And for more things you should be imbibing, Drinking This Every Day Could Slash Your Cancer Risk, Study Finds.

The optimal amount of drinks per week is 10 to 14.

couple drinking red wine in the kitchen during the day time
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According to the study, the ideal number of drinks per week is between 10 and 14, but Zhang noted that this shouldn't provoke people to start drinking more if they fall below this threshold. "It is hard to say this effect is causal," he noted. "So, if some people don't drink alcoholic beverages, this study does not encourage them to drink to prevent cognitive function decline." And for drinks you need to be careful with, If You're Swallowing Your Medication With This, Stop Immediately.

Another study shows that low alcohol intake helps the brain clear waste.

group of happy friends meeting in a pub, standing by the bar counter talking and drinking beer
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A 2018 study published by Scientific Reports found that "low levels of alcohol consumption tamp down inflammation and helps the brain clear away toxins, including those associated with Alzheimer's disease," according to a statement.

"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," lead author Maiken Nedergaard, MD, said in the statement.

The study was done in mice and found that those that had low levels of alcohol consumption, comparable to about two-and-a-half drinks per day, had less inflammation in the brain and their lymphatic system was more efficient in removing toxins and waste from the brain, as compared to the mice that had no alcohol. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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