Body Blog: Benefits of Booze

New Year’s Eve, many moons ago, I spent the end of the evening hugging the toilet at my parents’ house. I recall my mother saying, in that all-too-knowing tone, “See Blair, alcohol is poison.”

“Thanks, Mom. Blahhhhh!”

At that moment, while I agreed completely, I still felt like telling her to shut up. I needed her back there holding my hair, not scolding me for drinking “poison.”

Never would I have imagined – in my wildest dreams! – later reading articles boasting, “Alcohol is Good for You!”

But here we are in 2009 and it’s been proven that wine, and now beer and liquor, provide certain benefits to the body.

As we know, wine has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, fight aging, and improve lung function. This is due to the flavanoids found in red wine that act as antioxidants, as well as the effects in red grape skin ( But beer and hard alcohol are now showing their good-for-you colors, too. Beer contains vitamin B6, which prevents the buildup of homocysteine, a chemical linked with heart disease ( (It’s kind of hard to believe that beer has a vitamin in it, but those people at Fitness Magazine know what they’re talking about…) And drinking hard alcohol will raise your good HDL cholesterol levels, something that is obviously very beneficial to people with high cholesterol.

Ok, so clearly there is a catch: In order to receive these benefits, we must drink our drinks in moderation. Booo, I know. But sipping too much too often will only counter the good effects by increasing the risk of certain cancers and liver disease.

But, still, the next time you choose to just have one or two glasses of wine, or beer, or vodka and club soda, remember that you are doing your body a favor. And be sure to tell your mom that, too.

Weekly Ten: Sober and Loving it
Weekly Ten: Sober and Loving it
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