Risky or Worthwhile? Drinking 2 Glasses of Wine Per Night Good For Middle-Age Quality of Life

06/27/2012

Moderate wine drinking photoI've written before about safe levels for drinking and if, in fact, there is one. The consistent rule seems to be that it's one drink per day for women and two for men. But a new study that looked at overall wellbeing of middle-aged participants found that moderate drinking, considered in this study to be no more than 14 drinks per week and no more than three a day for women and four a day for men, led to the highest levels of overall quality of life. Characteristics of overall quality included overall dexterity, emotion, cognition, and mobility. 

The study followed 5,404 Canadians, age 50 and observed them over a follow up period. The Telegraph reported that researchers “found that these regular moderate drinkers scored highest in each of the health indices.”

The authors write: "Overall, this study shows a positive relation between regular moderate alcohol intake and quality of life in middle-aged adults.

Those that cut back or gave up alcohol within the study were the only ones to actually have a declining quality of life. Though it’s important to note that they did not take into account the reasons why they gave up alcohol whether it be already declining health, weight loss, or mental health.

One of the links to overall happiness and quality of life could be that as we age we may have less social interactions where alcohol is offered, and it’s these social interactions which lead to overall happiness. 

What's the Risk?

This should in no way be a license to overindulge on the booze because overconsumption has a negative impact on overall health. Studies have gone back and forth on whether drinking causes or inhibits good health. A recent study followed women who drank very moderately and found that any drinking, even as little as three to six drinks per week, increased a women’s risk of breast cancer by nearly 15 percent

But at the same time, moderate red wine has a positive impact on cardiovascular health. Red wine in very small servings does shield the heart from heart disease because of the resveratrol, a polyphenol found in the skin of red grapes. The antioxidant is known for its anti-inflammatory qualities, especially with regards to heart health, but higher doses don’t shield the heart even more. 

When you’re having a glass of wine, be as thoughtful in the way you drink it as you would with your meal. Take your time and be present for every inch of the experience, this way you’re much less likely to over do it. 

Photo: Ryan McVay/Thinkstock

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Read More: Are the French Really Healthier?


Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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