This is the fourth and final article in a series of articles about the five habits you need to practice in order to live longer and live better. In addition to not smoking, there are four other habits that you can read about on our website.
It is widely known that a daily glass of wine is common in the Mediterranean region. Many countries in the Mediterranean have a higher life expectancy than the US (Italy especially, where it is one of the highest in the world). The Mediterranean diet illustrates that daily alcohol consumption can actually promote longevity and reduce risk for heart disease.
Though it may seem too good to be true, research has continually shown that wine consumption may play a role in good health. As with anything, the devil is in the details. The key is to practice moderation.
Moderate daily alcohol consumption has some very specific guidelines. Pouring a large glass of red wine at night might not actually be moderation. In fact, the safe amount of alcohol is probably lower than most people realize. The CDC recommends up to one standard drink per day for women and up to two for men.
According to the CDC, a standard drink is equal to 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. That translates to:
- 12 ounces of beer.
- 8 ounces of malt liquor.
- 5 ounces of wine.
- 1.5 ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).
Additionally, in the Mediterranean (and in other “Blue Zone” locations around the world), alcohol is consumed in a communal setting and with a meal, and this is an important distinction.
That means people in these regions drink their wine with friends, family and food. The enjoyment of the beverage coincides with the enjoyment of the food. This matters because some people simply “go out for drinks,” which often leads to exceeding the recommended healthy amount. Overindulging in alcohol is not only bad for the waistline, but if continued over a long-term basis, can be harmful to one’s health.
Of course, if you don’t currently drink, there is no need to start. Continue to follow a healthy lifestyle and reap health benefits from that. But for those among us who do, it turns out that a drink day will actually help us live longer and live better. Cheers to that!