5 Surprising Benefits of Alcohol You Should Know

Drinking alcohol can be a lot like a tightrope walk – while it can offer certain health benefits and can be a great way to unwind after a long day, it can also lead to a lot of health problems later on. The key is to keep it balanced.

Of course, you don’t have to start drinking just for the health benefits, but when you already do, here are a few that can give you reason enough to be comfortable with having a drink or two:

1. Alcohol can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease
Multiple studies have shown that alcohol, when consumed in moderate amounts, can raise HDL (high-density lipoproteins), otherwise known as “good” cholesterol, which has been linked to better protection against different heart diseases.

Moderate drinking has also been linked to other benefits, from better response to insulin (an enzyme that allows the body to store glucose) to improvements in blood clotting.

2. A drink or two can improve your libido
One drink a day can help to improve your sex life. Even though alcohol is considered to be a depressant (it limits activity in the nervous system), consuming small amounts can build your libido and help to protect against erectile dysfunction.

3. You are less likely to be diabetic
Healthy adults taking two glasses a day can have a lowered overall chance of developing type-2 diabetes when compared to healthy adults who don’t drink at all, ad this is because small amounts of alcohol can increase a person’s sensitivity to insulin.

4. You’re less likely to develop dementia
When taken in small amounts, alcohol can cause moderate amounts of stress in brain cells. Because they are able to respond appropriately to the stress caused to them, they are able to build themselves up to withstand more stress better, which keeps dementia at bay.

5. Alcohol can make you live longer
Drinking can even add a few years to your life, especially when small amounts are consumed during meals (and only consumed during lunch and dinner) as part of a Mediterranean diet. However, with this type of regular consumption, the rest of the day needs to be alcohol-free.

How Much Should You Drink?
Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol means taking one drink per day at most for women of all ages, as well as men over the age of sixty-five. For those sixty-five and below, the amount is up to two drinks.

How much you should drink also depends on the type of alcohol you drink. For beer, the amount is 355 milliliters (or 12 fluid ounces), 148 milliliters (5 fluid ounces) for wine), and 44 milliliters (1.5 fluid ounces) for distilled spirits or drinks with a proof of 80 or higher.

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