All the Reasons Moderate Drinking is Actually Good For You

You’ve heard it before: Drinking is bad. While excessive drinking definitely comes with some scary health risks, there are actually some health benefits to alcohol — if you drink in moderation, of course. Here are four ways alcohol can actually improve your health.

Wine in glass

Alcohol has its health benefits. | Plateresca/iStock/Getty Images

1. It’s good for your heart

Red wine contains an antioxidant called resveratrol, which experts suggest can help promote a healthy heart. This life-saving antioxidant has some serious heart perks: It helps prevent damage to blood vessels, helps lower bad cholesterol, and can even help prevent blood clots. Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes, and several studies have shown that those who consume red wine in moderation have a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease than those who do not drink at all. However, some experts stress that the studies done can’t exactly prove cause and effect; they can only prove a correlation between drinking red wine and better heart health.

2. It can boost your memory

According to one study, alcohol can actually help improve memory — but it only helps you remember what you’ve learned while sober. A study conducted by the University of Exeter asked a group of people to memorize a list of 88 words. Then, one group drank alcohol after studying while another group did not. The following day, those who had consumed alcohol remembered more words on average than those who stayed sober. The researchers suggest the explanation could be that when you drink alcohol, it prevents further learning and “blocks” memories, which helps you retain previous memories better. Interestingly, it appeared that the more people drank, the more words they remembered. But the researchers also stress that consuming too much alcohol can have dangerous effects as well.

3. It can increase male fertility

A report released in July 2018 suggested that alcohol, along with other factors, can increase male fertility. Researchers out of Italy conducted a study to determine whether alcohol consumption affected male fertility. The study asked 323 men to drink a certain amount of alcohol each week (some of the men drank no alcohol). The results concluded that those who drank four to seven units of alcohol per week had the highest fertility compared with those who drank more or less. However, this is one of the few studies of its kind, so more research needs to be done to validate the study.

4. It can promote weight loss

If your best friend is Jose Cuervo, you might want to keep reading. A study published in 2014 found that the sugars in tequila can actually help promote weight loss and help control diabetes. In a test conducted on mice, agavins (the sugars found in tequila) were added to the food of certain mice. Those mice consumed less food overall and also produced a hormone called GLP-1, which keeps the stomach fuller for longer. This hormone produces insulin, too, which is good news for those with diabetes or weight problems. More research still needs to be done on the topic, but for now, tequila lovers, rejoice.

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