14. Moderate alcohol intake may boost your brain
We associate alcohol with an inability to think clearly. However, that only happens when you drink excessive amounts. Drunk in moderation, some alcoholic beverages may give your brain a boost.
A 2015 report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that beer contains a compound called xanthohumol. This compound protects the brain cells from damage.
The resveratrol in red wine is just as good for your brain as it is for your heart.
A study published in Scientific Reports says low levels of alcohol in the bloodstream lower inflammation and clear away toxins. Low levels of alcohol seem to increase the functioning of the glymphatic system, which clears toxins from the body.
Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may give your brain a bit of a workout. It puts the brain into a mild state of stress. You must sharpen your thinking and focus on what’s happening around you. Besides, drinking alcohol dilates the blood vessels slightly, which increases the flow of blood to the brain. This increases the levels of oxygen and glucose in the brain which stimulates its functioning.
13. Moderate intake of alcohol may help your memory
Excessive drinking may affect your brain’s ability to remember. But it seems that moderate drinking may help you remember things better.
A study at the University of Exeter found that people who drink alcohol after studying are better at recalling what they’ve learned. 88 people participated. They were asked to do a word-learning activity. Half of the group was instructed to abstain from alcohol. When the participants did the same task the next day, those who had drunk alcohol outperformed those who had not. The reasons for this are still being studied.
It is speculated that alcohol blocked those participants who drank it from learning any new information. This gave the brain more “space” and resources to devote to the information they’d learned that day and commit it to long-term memory.
A moderate intake of alcohol may also delay or disrupt the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A study conducted at Loyola University of Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine analyzed data from 143 studies conducted around the world. Their analysis determined that a moderate intake of alcohol makes one 23% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Heavy drinkers were, however, found to be more likely to develop dementia.
12. Moderate alcohol intake can give you a vitamin boost
Our bodies need vitamins and minerals to function. They fulfill important functions such as keeping our immune system functioning, looking after our organs, strengthening our bones and muscles, and healing our bodies. We get most of them from our diet.
Beer lovers will be pleased to know that their beverage of choice contains quite a few vitamins and minerals. It is rich in Vitamin B3 (niacin). This vitamin aids with digestion, skin health and the functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is also present in significant amounts in beer.
Vitamin B6 aids with brain development and the production of serotonin and norepinephrine. They are hormones which help the body deal with stress. Beer contains Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, which is a water-soluble vitamin essential for producing blood cells.
You can also find trace elements of thiamine (Vitamin B1) in beer. It plays a vital role in the breakdown of the carbohydrates we ingest. Vitamin B12 is also present in the beer. Vitamin B12 is a powerhouse that gives the body energy.
Beer also contains folates. Folate is essential in the replication of DNA, which is necessary for the body to manufacture new cells to replace those that have died.
11. Moderate alcohol intake can be good for your bones
Studies suggest that beer may be help your bone density. Bone density is measured according to how much bone mineral there is in your bones. Osteoporosis is a condition that lowers your bone density, making you more susceptible to breaks and fractures.
Beer has a high silicon content. The National Institutes of Health indicates that dietary silicon such as that found in beer is essential for the growth and development of bone and connective tissue. This dietary silicon is known as orthosilicic acid (OSA). It is known to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Barley contains far more silicon than wheat. A study showed that wheat-based beers contain fewer hops. They are therefore much lower in silicon than barley-based beers, which include more hops. Corn is used during the brewing of “light” lagers, which means they also have lower levels of silicon in them.
he resveratrol in red wine has also been linked to improved bone density in the spinal bones. Resveratrol increases the levels of lipoprotein in the body which is known as the “good cholesterol.” It is also being considered as a potential treatment for osteoporosis as it seems to stimulate the bone-forming cells in the body. Its anti-inflammatory properties also seem to protect against bone loss.
10. Moderate alcohol intake can improve the effects of vaccines
Nobody likes the needle, but vaccinations are necessary. Every year, millions of people go for their annual flu shot. A moderate intake of alcohol can improve your immune system’s response to a vaccines like this.
In fact, researchers believe that drinking in moderation will help the body to respond to the flu vaccine. However, research on the connection between moderate alcohol intake and improved vaccine effects has only been conducted on rhesus monkeys so far.
They showed a markedly improved response to a vaccine if they ingested moderate amounts of alcohol. As their immune responses were tested over time, it became clear that those who ingested large quantities of alcohol had a poor immune response. However, those who ingested alcohol in moderate amounts showed an improved response to the vaccines.
This lengthy study has shown that there is potential for further research and development into the links between moderate alcohol intake and enhanced effects of vaccinations. A glass of wine with dinner seems to have the potential to keep your immune system responsive to vaccines.
9. Moderate intake of alcohol may protect you from the common cold
There’s nothing worse than the burning sore throat that marks the onset of a cold. You’re hot and sweating one minute, cold and shivering the next. Sneezes and sniffles invariably follow. There might even be a little coughing as well. Moderate drinking to combat the common cold is something that goes back a long way. Many people swear by a hot toddy as a cure.
There are different ways to make hot toddies, but they all contain a small amount of whiskey or brandy. It’s either added to boiling water, tea or warmed milk. Lemon, honey and cloves are used for additional healing effect.
The hot toddy works for a variety of reasons. It’s believed that because alcohol dilates your blood vessels, it eases some of the inflammation. Alcohol also makes you drowsy. Sleep and rest are the best medicine for a cold, and a hot toddy sends you to dreamland so the healing can begin.
A glass of wine can also play a role in preventing a cold. It is full of antioxidants that boost the immune system and help to fight off infection.
8. Moderate intake of alcohol might be beneficial to your kidneys
The prophets of doom which can only see the negative impacts of alcohol consumption will lecture you on the disastrous effects alcohol can have on your kidneys. This is not always the case.
Studies from Finland indicate that a bottle of beer can reduce your risk of developing kidney stones by 30-40%. 11,000 healthy men were monitored over a 14-year period. Those who drank about 7 bottles of beer a week showed a smaller risk of rising creatine levels. Your creatine levels are an indicator that there is something wrong with your kidneys. The hops in the beer act toward preventing kidney stones and slow the release of calcium from the bones. Calcium build-up causes kidney stones.
Beer also has high water content. It helps to flush the kidneys out. This allows them to dispose of any waste the body doesn’t need. The occasional beer can, therefore, help to keep your kidneys clear of toxins by assisting to irrigate them.
Published papers from 2014 indicate no real possibility of a decline in kidney function among people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol. Excessive drinking, however, will negatively affect your kidneys.
7. A moderate intake of alcohol may help you lose weight
Let’s face it, most of us have a few extra pounds we’d love to shed, especially as summer approaches. Some alcoholic beverages might help you lose weight. White wine drunk in moderate amounts is known to help with weight loss. It contains antioxidants called epicatechin, quercetin and resveratrol.
Antioxidants fight off diseases and also lower your levels of cholesterol, which helps with weight loss. But don’t rely on a few glasses of white wine to make you lose weight with no other interventions. Wine contains calories that need to be burned off through exercise.
The resveratrol found in white and red wine can burn fat. It can convert excess fat into “brown fat,” which burns calories. Testing of resveratrol on animal subjects revealed that those who consumed it gained 40% less weight than those who did not.
There is even evidence suggesting tequila can help you in your weight loss quest. Research indicates that the natural sugars (agavins) found in tequila are better for your body than artificial sweeteners. Animal testing revealed that those fed agavins had lower glucose levels and their appetite remained satisfied for longer.
6. A moderate intake of alcohol may enhance your exercise performance
If you consume a moderate amount of wine, you may find your morning workout more useful than ever. Studies indicate that the resveratrol found in large quantities in red wine may improve the functioning of the heart, the strength of the muscles and your overall physical performance.
In one such study, participants consumed large quantities of resveratrol. They showed a marked improvement in their workout capabilities and fitness. The amount of resveratrol they consumed was far more than what the average glass of wine would offer. A resveratrol supplement would be needed in addition to a glass of wine to get your levels high enough.
A study has linked wine consumption and exercise to lowered levels of cholesterol and a decreased risk of atherosclerosis. Cholesterol is fatty deposits that build up in the arteries and restrict the flow of blood as it is pumped into and out of the heart. Atherosclerosis is a condition caused by a buildup of plaque in the artery walls. It narrows the arteries and restricts blood flow in much the same way cholesterol does.
5. A moderate intake of alcohol can make you feel great after you’ve exercised
After a vigorous workout, you need to replenish specific compounds in your body that you burned off while exercising. One of the most important of these is water. Exercise dehydrates your body because it makes you sweat. Since beer is made up of a lot of water, it makes sense that an ice-cold beer after a workout will rehydrate you.
Scientists have also figured out that many people crave a beer or a glass of wine after a workout. It’s a psychological reward. Exercise releases endorphins into the bloodstream.
Endorphins are “feel-good” substances that give us a sense of satisfaction. Having a beer or a glass of wine after a workout adds more endorphins to the mix. We encourage ourselves subconsciously to exercise again, so we can have a beer or a glass of wine after a workout to recreate that feeling.
Instead of reaching for a protein shake after a tough workout, you could grab a beer instead. Beer contains high quantities of B vitamins. Beer also contains protein. It is rich in fiber, which is essential for a healthy digestive system. It’s advisable to drink a light beer after a workout. Follow your beer with a glass of water for additional hydration.
4. A moderate intake of alcohol may soothe sore muscles
Sore muscles are common after a strenuous workout. They set in some hours after you’ve exercised. The stiff, painful feeling can persist for up to 3-4 days. It is called Delay Onset Muscle Syndrome (DOMS). It is characterized by microscopic damage to the muscles and inflammation caused by exertion. The pain can be so severe that you struggle to do everyday tasks.
The ethanol in beer is believed to have pain-relieving properties. Beverages that contain ethanol may also have an anti-inflammatory effect. The links between having a beer to relieve muscle soreness after a workout are tenuous.
But bear in mind the endorphins released into the bloodstream when you drink alcohol. They make us feel good and may reduce the brain’s perception of the sensation of pain.
Remember that too much of a good thing is bad for you. So, a beer or two after a workout if your muscles are sore won’t hurt. But if you drink excessively, you’ll wake the next morning feeling even worse. The loss of coordination and balance you experience during a heavy drinking session can overwork your muscles, leaving them aching and stiff.
3. A moderate intake of alcohol may reduce your risk of a heart attack
A heart attack occurs when the supply of blood to your heart is suddenly cut off. The heart is a muscle that continuously pumps blood through the body. Without a supply of blood, the heart cannot work. This can be due to a clot or clogged arteries or veins.
If the cause of the heart attack is not treated, the damage to the heart may be permanent. In the wake of the heart attack, your heartbeat may become erratic.
It may stop entirely, which is called a cardiac arrest. Doctors or paramedics will then try to “re-start” the heart using CPR or a defibrillator that administers a shock.
A Swedish study conducted over a period of 32 years found that women who drink 1-2 beers weekly are less likely to have a heart attack. Up to 30% reduced their risk, compared to women who do not drink at all.
A glass of red wine is packed with antioxidants that help keep the heart and the arteries healthy. Moderate intake of red wine may reduce your risk of a heart attack.
2. A moderate intake of alcohol may help your digestive system
A glass of wine with dinner may very well aid the digestive process. German researchers found that fermented drinks such as wine, sherry and beer can help with digestion. But drinks that are fermented and distilled (such as rum and whiskey) do not have an appreciable effect on digestion.
Fermented drinks speed up the process of getting food out of the stomach and into the intestines. They also simulate gastric acid, which is essential for the breakdown of food. It’s believed that this property is in an alcoholic beverage when it has been fermented, but gets removed as soon as it is distilled.
Drinking wine with a meal consisting of meat may help with digestion. Red wine may counteract a potentially harmful substance found in meat. These are oxidized fats, known as malonaldehydes (MDA), and they are released when meat is digested.
In 2008, a study conducted on the release of MDA had some interesting findings. The subjects were served a piece of the dark meat from a turkey. Their MDA levels increased. However, if they drank red wine while consuming the meat, there was no MDA.
1. A moderate alcohol intake may lengthen your lifespan
A variety of studies have consistently shown that a moderate intake of alcohol may increase longevity. People who don’t consume any alcohol tend to die sooner than people who do. In fact, some studies have gone so far as to suggest that heavy drinkers may live longer than those who abstain. This may be due to the antioxidants in wine.
Resveratrol is a potent compound found in abundant quantities in red wine. It is suitable for your cardiovascular health, which is why a glass of wine a day may help to keep your ticker going for longer.
A moderate intake of alcohol is also said to be helpful in reducing stress, which is a significant killer across the world. Many people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol do so on social occasions. Socializing is very important for human beings: we are, by nature, social animals. Socializing with people, whether it’s spouse, partner, family or friends is important for your quality of life.
Loneliness has long-term negative consequences for our longevity, scientists are discovering. The improved lifespan of people who drink in moderation cannot be linked to alcohol alone. Factors such as diet, exercise and lifestyle are essential as well.