Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Let’s Drink For Your Health

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By Cecil Scaglione

Mature Life Features

It may not be a coincidence that toasts around the world are addressed to your health.

Results of several studies and surveys in various parts of the globe support the view that the moderate use of alcohol actually is good for your well-being and longevity, according to a report by the Center for the Advancement of Health in Washington, D.C.

For example, women who drink an average of half a drink a day have a 14 percent lower risk of developing high blood pressure than non-drinkers. Those who average 1 1/2 a day lower their risk of hypertension by 20 percent compared with teetot0talers.

This does not condone drinking. If you don’t drink, don’t start. If you do drink, we’re talking about moderate drinking, which translates to an average of one or two drinks a day. One drink is defined as an ounce of liquor, four ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer.

A study of more than 38,000 men over a dozen years indicated that those who drank moderately three or more times a week had a reduced risk of heart attack compared with those who drank less frequently. A 2001 study revealed drinkers who averaged one a day were more than 30 percent less likely to die after a heart attack than teetotalers. Also, moderate drinkers appear to be more likely than lifelong non-drinkers to seek preventive health-care and participate in other healthy behaviors, according to a study the same year. People 65 and older who downed more than 15 drinks a week were 41 percent less likely to have silent strokes than abstainers but were at greater risk for brain shrinkage.

Harvard researchers report a slight reduction in Parkinson’s-disease rates among moderate beer drinkers. However, a British study suggests the health benefits attributed to moderate drinking do not apply to men younger than 35 and women under 55.

Despite the data supporting the cardiovascular-health benefits of moderate drinking, physicians are loath to prescribe a glass of wine after dinner to improve your well-being. Medical experts argue that alcohol use can lead to abuse while exercise, proper diet, and cholesterol-controlling drugs can achieve and maintain the same level of health.

Supporters of the moderate use of alcohol suggest it dovetails smoothly into the litany of a healthy lifestyle: don’t smoke, be active, maintain a healthy weight, and eat a balanced diet — with a daily glass of wine.

Among both the drinkers and doctors, the age-old white-vs.-red wine debate goes on. A study of 1,565 adults gives the edge to white wine when it comes to boosting lung capacity and function.

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2005

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 8, 2014 at 12:05 am

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