Not drinking is killing you… Seriously.
There have been many studies showing that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol (2 drinks/day for men, 1 drink/day for women) is good for your health and can actually lengthen life. These studies generally focus on alcohol being healthy as it thins the blood and causes benefits to heart and circulatory health.
A 2010 study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research that followed 1,824 participants between the ages of 55 and 65 for 20 years is showing that the benefits of moderate alcohol use may actually be social.
There are some great facts from this study and we’re simply going to list them here:
ALCOHOL AND HEALTH:
1. If you don’t drink, you’re more than 2 times more likely to die than a moderate drinker
2. Researchers found that abstaining from alcohol increases the risk of dying, even when you exclude former alcoholics who have now quit.
3. 70 percent of the abstainers died during the 20-year time span of the study, only 41 percent of moderate drinkers died
4. Moderate drinkers were 23 percent less likely to die than light drinkers
5. Moderate drinkers have more friends and higher quality “friend support” than abstainers
6. Moderate drinkers are more likely to be married.
7. Moderate drinking leads to socializing which results in the evasion of loneliness and loneliness is very unhealthy. Humans are extremely social primates. When we don’t have social contact, we are more likely to die, period. Heart disease increases as loneliness increases.
The entire study may have been summarized best by Johan Lehrer at Wired Magazine:
Of course, relationships have their own chemistry, a language of dopamine, oxytocin, vasopressin, etc. But I think that in the rush to decipher the bodily molecules, we are missing the essential lesson, which is that some of the most valuable health benefits don’t come from compounds that can be bottled, or condensed into a gel capsule. Instead, they come from other people, from those lovely conversations we share over a glass or three of wine. – Johan Lehrer/Wired Magazine