Moderate consumption of alcohol could be beneficial for women in later life

By Kieran Ball - 07 Sep 2011 16:6:0 GMT
Moderate consumption of alcohol could be beneficial for women in later life

A long-term study carried out by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston has found that consuming one alcoholic drink per day (15mg alcohol) could have positive health benefits for middle-aged women.

The team, led by Dr Qi Sun, has published a report in the Public Library of Science journal stating that regular, light to moderate, consumption of alcohol improved chances of 'successful aging' in women from their 50s onwards. Women who consumed small amounts of alcohol on a regular basis improved their chances of avoiding several major age-related ailments, including heart disease and diabetes.

As part of the US Nurses' Health Study begun in 1976, the research involved a group of over 100,000 female nurses and found that those that drank one or two drinks most nights had a 30% chance of better health than those who did not drink at all or drank excessively. The optimum level of benefit appeared to be between 15g and 30g of alcohol per day, which is the equivalent of one to two glasses of wine.

Qi Sun was quick to point out that the findings weren't proof that alcohol is good for the human body and that other factors could be playing a part too:

"Low to moderate consumption of alcohol will slightly improve health for women in low age. We would still only recommend one drink per day, as that is what the US health guidelines are. Even at moderate drinking levels, it is highly recommended that you consume alcohol on a regular basis rather than binge drinking at the weekend."

Dr Sun added that regular exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight were more important when it comes to boosting health in middle age.

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