Researchers stress that alcohol is only beneficial to your immune health when consumed in moderation
Hold the wine! Before you pop the cork and get sipping, researchers behind the study say that it’s important you realise that most of the health benefits that alcohol delivers are primarily when it’s imbibed in moderation.
So what is moderate drinking, exactly? Generally, it’s no more than one drink a day for women and two a day for men. One drink would be equal to one can of beer, one glass of wine or one shot of liquor such as whisky.
Of course, it’s important that you take the size of your glass into consideration – if your glass fits half a bottle of wine, it goes without saying that it’s not equivalent to the one drink that experts advise.
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American study finds that moderate alcohol consumption can improve your immune health
For the study, researchers trained 12 rhesus macaques to drink alcohol on their own accord after they vaccinated them against small pox, a highly contagious, infectious disease. One group of study subjects were provided access to 4% alcohol, while the other group had access to sugar water. Both groups also had access to food and clean water.
Over a 14-month period, researchers vaccinated the study subjects again. They found that subjects’ voluntary alcohol consumption varied, as they expected. So they split the subjects into two groups – moderate drinkers and heavy drinkers.
Researchers concluded that the heavy drinkers showed diminished responses to the small pox vaccine compared to those who consumed sugar water. On the other hand, they found that the moderate drinkers had an enhanced response to the small pox vaccine.
While this study suggests that it’s beneficial to have a drink a day, it’s important to note that the same rules don’t apply for everyone. Generally, experts agree that the risks exceed the benefits for pregnant women, people on medications that interact with alcohol and anyone with liver disease (past or present).