Wellbeing

The Science Is In: A Few Drinks Each Day Could Be Good For You

Time to quit Febfast everyone – science has told us that drinking alcohol in moderate amounts is good for our health. Excuse me while I dash to the bottle shop.

New research published in the journal Scientific Reports indicates that drinking small amounts of alcohol can help to reduce inflammation in the brain and clear out its toxins. This includes the toxins that have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Yes – that means that small amounts of alcohol could be good for our brains, as well as our social lives.

The study, completed by a team of researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York State, shows that low-level consumption of ethanol – the alcohol present in wine, beer and whisky, etc – boosts the performance of systems in the body that clear away toxins.

The flip side is that heavy drinking has the opposite effect, with binge drinking alcohol having an adverse effect on the same function, as well as being linked to a host of other health issues.

“In this study we have shown for the first time that low doses of alcohol are potentially beneficial to brain health, namely it improves the brain’s ability to remove waste,” said Maiken Nedergaard, lead author of the study, to Science Daily. “[But] prolonged intake of excessive amounts of ethanol is known to have adverse effects on the central nervous system.”

So how much is a “moderate amount” of alcohol? The tests show that around two and a half drinks per day would ideal, and would contain the optimal amount of alcohol to receive the benefits from ethanol intake. By our calculations, that’s just enough to chill out after work without getting wobbly.

Everything in moderation though, as prolonged periods of heavy alcohol consumption has been shown to greatly increase the risk of developing dementia and other problems.

Now you have a reason to quaff the good stuff, learn how to bluff your way to being a wine connoisseur.


Mitch Brook is Editor of The Cusp and his brain-cleaning drink of choice is whisky.

Lead image: The Great Gatsby / Warner Bros.