A study conducted by Harvard University has concluded that women in their 50s, who enjoy a glass or two of alcohol a day, are more likely to be healthy than those who do not drink or who drink to excess. Research has shown that their minds are sharper, their bodies are fitter and that they are in better mental health.
The Harvard University researchers took information on how much 120,000 female nurses drank in middle age and compared it with data on their health at 70-plus. Almost 11 per cent of those who lived into their 70s had 'successfully aged' - that is, they had dodged 11 of the major ills of old age, including cancer, heart attack, stroke and diabetes.
Drinking 15g to 30g of alcohol a day raised the odds of good overall health in later years by 28 per cent, with wine and spirits particularly beneficial. However, due to concern that alcohol raises the odds of breast cancer, the researchers recommend that women stick to 15g of alcohol a day. The study also showed daily drinking to be more beneficial than tippling just once or twice a week.
Daily drinkers were 50 per cent more likely to have a healthy old age than those who never drank. Author Qi Sun, of Harvard's School of Public Health, said: "For lifetime drinkers, if they drink moderately and sensibly, it is OK for them to continue and enjoy the consumption and maximize their odds of successfully aging."
Moderate consumption of red wine has already been credited with a host of health benefits. Among them are preventing blood clots and raising levels of HDL cholesterol, the "good cholesterol" that protects against hardening of the blood vessels.
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