Middle-aged women who indulge in a drink or two daily may enjoy better health in old age than their peers who are teetotallers or drink more heavily, a new study has found.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that women who enjoy a small tipple (15 grams of alcohol or less) daily improve their chances of avoiding heart disease, diabetes and other mental and physical disorders in later life.
Detailing their findings in the journal PLoS Medicine, the authors defined this good overall health as “successful ageing“.
In their study, the researchers looked at the health of about 14,000 nurses enrolled in a large US survey.
They found that those who frequently drank one to two drinks a night, but no more, had a 30 per cent better chance of overall good health in their seventies than those who avoided alcohol altogether.
Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol on a nightly basis was shown to be healthier than indulging just once or twice a week.
Women who drank on five to seven nights a week enjoyed a 50 per cent better chance of good health in later life than teetotallers, the researchers found.
“These data suggest that regular, moderate consumption of alcohol at midlife may be related to a modest increase in overall health status among women who survive to older ages,” they concluded.