Cheers, Ladies! A Drink a Day May Mean Good Health in Older Age

In case you needed another reason to raise your glass, a new study links moderate drinking in midlife to better health in older age in women. Researchers found that compared with women who didn’t drink at all, those who reported having one or two drinks a day in middle age were significantly more likely to maintain good health as they aged. The researchers defined good health as being free of major chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes or heart disease, and having no physical disability, cognitive decline or mental health problems. The study, led by Harvard researchers, included data on 13,894 women who participated in the long-running Nurses’ Health Study. The volunteers filled out surveys about their eating and drinking habits in midlife (around age 58). The researchers then compared their answers to the women’s health at age 70. They found that women who drank up to one alcoholic beverage per day in midlife were 19% more likely than nondrinkers to enjoy good health at 70. Women who had one to two drinks a day had even better odds, a 28% greater chance of good health. Even those who drank less, a third of a glass of alcohol a day — or just two drinks a week — boosted their chances of overall good health by 11%. The study found that it wasn’t just the amount but the pattern of drinking that mattered: women who spread their alcohol consumption over five to seven days, for example, were more likely to maintain good health than those who drank the same amount of booze in three or four days — and both groups were more likely to be healthy at age 70 than women who didn’t drink at all. But those ladies who squeezed their drinking into just one or two days a week were no better off when it came to overall health than nondrinkers. The researchers defined one drink as 15 g (or just over half an ounce) of alcohol — the equivalent of a can of beer or a small … Continue reading Cheers, Ladies! A Drink a Day May Mean Good Health in Older Age