New research suggests that middle-aged women who enjoy a couple of glasses of wine a day have a healthier old age. Scientists suggest that moderate drinking can lead to ‘successful ageing’, and cut the risk of stroke, reports the Daily Mail.
Two studies by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University in Boston used data from the landmark Nurses’ Health Study, which started in 1976 and involves more than 200,000 women. The alcohol consumption of almost 14,000 women who lived to the age of 70 was analysed in mid-life to find out what factors contributed to ‘successful survival’.Dr Qi Sun, a Harvard medical instructor who led the study, found 1,499 women reached 70 free of major diseases such as cancer and heart disease, and had no physical impairments or memory problems. He looked at levels of drinking around the age of 58, and found women who had one or two drinks most days of the week had a 28 per cent better chance of ‘successfully surviving’ to old age, compared with non-drinkers. Dr Sun found women drinking most days were likely to be healthier than women who drank one or two days a week, which often results in ‘binge’ drinking.
A second study analysed the risk of stroke in 73,450 women in the Nurses’ Health Study who did not have either heart disease or cancer when enrolled. Altogether 1,822 strokes were recorded, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s meeting in Chicago, and any level of drinking was linked to a lower risk of stroke. Experts are unclear about exactly how alcohol might benefit health, with one theory being that it helps the body metabolise glucose more efficiently as well as reducing the risk of blood clots.