Drinking buddies: one,  Teetotallers: zero. That was the final score of a twenty-year study measuring the affects of alcohol on health. The research, published in the European Heart Journal, found that moderate drinkers have a lower risk of dying from heart disease, compared to those who never touch the bottle. And drinkers who add exercise to their routine improve the odds even more, with a heart-disease risk just half that of inactive nondrinkers. (Buy a treadmill and a wet bar, and call it even.)
The take-away message reads: “A weekly consumption of up to 14 drinks—classified as a glass of wine, a bottle of beer or a single measure of spirits—offers the greatest health benefits.”
With health “experts” constantly lobbying for restrictions (“slash fat,” “cut salt,” “nix sugar,” etc.), it might seem counterintuitive to hear that something we enjoy can also be good for our health. But it’s true. Studies confirm that our wellbeing often comes from unlikely places. Whether it’s a pub (doctors say “drink”) or your bedroom (regular sex is heart healthy), pleasure and health are not always mutually exclusive—a notion that’s foreign to food cops.
Not only can enjoyable behaviors improve our health in the short term, but unlike extreme restrictions or outright bans, these resolutions produce better results over time since we’re more likely to stick with them.
Let’s toast to that.