For many people, alcohol is an all or none experience. There are the “wine o’clock moms” then there are the dry moms who never indulge. While there is nothing wrong with the occasional drink, and there is nothing wrong with abstaining, I was surprised to learn that there are actually health benefits for the moderate drinker.
To put this in perspective, a moderate drinker is typically defined for women as someone who has no more than 3 drinks in any one day and no more than 7 in any rolling week. Men can consume up to 4 drinks in a day and no more than 14 in a rolling week and still be considered a moderate drinker. Any more than that puts men women in a higher risk for substance abuse and for the negative effects of alcohol.
For the occasional drinker, here are 8 of the top benefits you may experience:
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
Wait. I thought that drinking increased the risk of heart disease. It turns out that some studies show that women who drink no more than once a day, may benefit from reduced heart disease risk. Don’t start drinking just to reduce your risk, but if you’re already a low-moderate drinker, you may not need to worry as much about heart problems.
Other factors that help to reduce the risk of heart disease include eating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, eating lean meats, quitting smoking, and staying physically active daily.
Reduced Risk of Diabetes
There are several risk factors for diabetes, but low-to-moderate alcohol use isn’t one of them. In fact, if you drink no more than once a day, you may actually reduce your risk of diabetes. Just watch out for fruity alcoholic beverages and things like hard ice freeze pops that contain more added sugar. They are delicious for occasional drinks, but you may not want to enjoy them daily.
If you’re looking to lose weight or tone up, studies show that red wine is the way to go. A chemical found in the grapes slows the storage of fat and the creation of newer fat cells. It can also boost the breakdown of fatty acids in the liver. These benefits combined make it easier for the moderate drinker to lose weight.
Reduced Risk of the Common Cold
While we’re on the topic of red wine, did you know that women who drink it regularly, in moderation, experience fewer colds than those who don’t? Studies show that the antioxidants in red wine are so powerful they can make you 60% less likely to get colds. You may want to avoid drinking it while you’re sick, but it doesn’t hurt if you drink it on occasion.
Beer Can Help Your Bones
Women are at higher risk of osteoporosis as they age. Bone strengthening can reduce the risk of breaks and injury, and a beer a day helps do just that. The nutrients in beer include silicon which is what’s responsible for the bone benefits.
Helps Muscles Recover From Workouts
If you drink just a tiny amount of alcohol—not even a serving—you can reduce your post-workout recovery. You’ll also want to replenish with water and electrolytes as needed. One study showed that those who drank this tiny amount of alcohol after two consecutive workouts experienced less muscle soreness than those who drank a placebo.
Improve Your Sex Life
For men and women who enjoy the occasional drink, they are more likely to have a higher sex drive than those who don’t. This increased libido is especially true for men because it can lessen erectile dysfunction issue as much as 30%.
Whiskey for Sore Throats
If you get hit with a scratchy or sore throat, a little whiskey mixed with raw honey and warm water can give you the relief you need. This one sounds like something my grandparents would do, but according to people who have tried it, it works pretty well.
Moderate drinkers experience more health benefits than previously thought. While heavy drinkers will experience many of the negative effects of alcohol, the low and moderate drinkers may just be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy a drink and all the benefits that come with it.