It is well known that excessive alcohol use can lead to a number of health problems. However, a moderate amount of alcohol can actually be a beneficial component of an anti-inflammatory diet!
There’s a growing body of research which indicates alcohol’s surprising anti-inflammatory effects. Here are some facts:
- This investigation of 10‐year drinking typologies showed that stable moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a long‐term inflammatory marker profile that is consistent with conferring a reduced risk of developing coronary heart disease.
- A recent study conducted by a group of German and American researchers proved that beer consumption helps reduce post-marathon muscle inflammation and respiratory illness. The beer drinkers among the runners were significantly less likely to suffer from upper-respiratory infection and had 20-32% lower markers for inflammation compared to the placebo group. The reason? Well, apparently, wheat beer contains various types of polyphenols — antioxidant chemicals which help to down-regulate genes related to turning on inflammation.
- Another study in Arthritis & Rheumatology found that women who reported moderate alcohol consumption (roughly one drink a day) had a 22% decreased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (a chronic inflammatory condition) compared to women who don’t drink. Women who drank beer 2-4 times a week had a 31% decreased risk compared with those who never drank beer.
So, apparently, moderate alcohol consumption can do you good in some cases; studies also find that compared with nondrinkers, those who consume a moderate amount of alcohol have lower all-cause and coronary heart disease mortality, along with the reduced risk of inflammatory conditions. However:
Moderation is key!
The data clearly shows that heavy drinkers have an increased risk of mortality from cancer, liver damage, and coronary heart disease.
Don’t go overboard! Drink responsibly and in moderation, or not at all. Stick with no more than one drink a day if you are a woman, and up to two drinks a day if you are a man below the age of 65. Examples of one drink include:
- Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters)
- Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters)
- Distilled spirits: 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters)
Cheers to your health!