How Drinking Alcohol in Moderation Improves Health
The protective effects of the moderate consumption of alcohol (beer, wine, and liquor or distilled spirits) on cardiovascular diseases as well as on all-cause mortality has repeatedly been demonstrated in epidemiological research around the world.
This review of the research examines the positive effects of drinking alcohol in moderation on biochemical factors that are associated with good health. Thus, this review identifies some of the ways in which alcohol brings about better health and greater longevity. These mechanisms include improving lipids, platelet aggregation, fibrinogen, tissue-plasminogen activaton, plasminogen-activator inhibition and better omega-3 fatty acid levels.
Research has found beer, wine and liquor or distilled spirits to be equally beneficial to health and longevity. Medical studies have also found that the primary beneficial substance in alcoholic beverages is the alcohol itself. Standard drinks of beer, wine and distilled spirits or liquor contain an equivalent amount of alcohol. A standard drink refers to:
- a 12-ounce bottle or can of regular beer
- a five-ounce glass of dinner wine
- a shot of liquor or spirits (either straight or in a mixed drink)
A drink of alcohol is a drink of alcohol. They're all the same to a breathalyzer and to both good health and long life. For more, visit Standard Drinks.
Note: This website does not provide advice on alcohol consumption or other health-related matters and none should be inferred.
- Di Castelnuovo, A, et al. Alcohol consumption and cardiovascular risk: mechanisms of action and epidemiologic perspectives. Future Cardiology, 2009, 5(5), 467-477.
Readings on Alcohol and Health:
- (listing does not imply endorsement)
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- Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration. Alcohol Health and Research World. Periodical. Rockville, MD: U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1990-
- Alcohol Education and Research Council. Optimal Levels of Alcohol Consumption for Men and Women of Different Ages. London: Alcohol Education and Research Council, 2004.
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- Mansell, M., et al. Alcohol and Your Health. Kent Town, Australia: Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council, 2004.
- Single, E. (Ed.) Moderate Alcohol Consumption: The Public Health Issues. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, 2000.
- Smart, L. Alcohol and Human Health. Oxford: oxford University Press, 2007.
- Stuttaford, T. To Your Good Health! The Wise Drinkers Guide. London: Faber & Faber, 1997.
- US Department of Health and Human Services. Here's to Your Health: Alcohol Facts for Women. Rockville, MD: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and alcoholism, 1981.
- Verschuren, P.M. Health Issues Related to Alcohol Consumption. Brussels, Belgium: ISLI Europe, 1993.
- Willett, Walter C., with the assistance of others. Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2001.
- Women's Health Australia. Alcohol Consumption and Women's Health. Callinghan, N.S.W.: Research Cenre for Gender and Health, 2005.
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