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Alcohol plays a predominant role in many cultures, with many of us toasting great moments in life, enjoying happy hours with colleagues or friends, or simply indulging in a few drinks after a long, stressful day.

Of course, health experts have long warned overdrinkingwhich is approximately equal to the consumption of five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women for about two hours. If you have ever overdosed on your favorite drinks, you know that you usually do not feel well the next day, and repeated alcohol abuse can affect your mental and physical health.

But research also shows that drinking alcohol in moderation can actually benefit your health in some surprising ways.

Here are some of the most interesting ways to drink in moderation can benefit you, as long as you consume it safely and responsibly.

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1. Moderate alcohol consumption can lead to a longer life.

It is true that drinking to excess can cause illness and disease, including several types crab, brain damage and liver damage and can even shorten your life. But drinking a moderate amount can actually help you live longer, according to a 2014 study conducted by three universities in Spain.

The researchers followed a small group of Spanish participants for 12 years and found that those who drank “low amounts of wine distributed during the week” but avoided overeating showed a 25% reduced risk of death.

Another study from 2017 observed approximately 333,000 adults who drank alcohol and found that those who maintained their moderate drinking skills saw a 21% lower risk of mortality than participants who had never drunk.

Similarly, a 2018 study published in the journal PLOS Medicine, found that people who drank moderately were less likely to die earlier than those who stayed away from alcohol at all.

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2. It can also reduce the risk of heart failure.

Too much alcohol can cause serious problems for you heart health, but several studies show that enjoying a few drinks a week can reducing the risk of heart failure.

2006 survey found that light to moderate alcohol consumption “is associated with a lower risk of ischemic stroke” as well as a reduction in vascular risk, particularly in middle-aged people.

1999 survey found that “moderate drinkers are at lower risk of the most common form of cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, than those who drink heavier or abstain” due to the “protective effects” of alcohol on the heart. related to blood chemistry and “prevention of blood clots in the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle”, leading to a lower risk of coronary heart disease.

Another study, completed between 1980 and 1988, found that risk of coronary heart disease and stroke in women is particularly low among those who report moderate alcohol use among a sample of 87,526 nurses aged between 34 and 59 years.

While these findings are promising for those who already have a healthy relationship with alcohol, it is also important to note that adopting overall healthy living habits is the surest way to protect your heart.

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3. You may have a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

A 2005 analysis published in the journal Diabetes Care noted a “significantly” reduced risk of type 2 diabetes among moderate alcoholics than alcoholics and abstainers, compiling data from 15 different studies linking healthy habits with those reporting moderate alcohol use.

“We currently expect to see a 37% influx of type 2 diabetes worldwide by 2030, and although studies do not show a reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes in those who already drink a lot during their day – daily lives, there is a significant a 30% reduced risk in those who drink moderately, “cardiologist Robert Segal told Insider.

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4. Moderate drinking can help male fertility.

A 2018 study conducted by Italian Fertility Clinic and published in the journal Andrology shows that male fertility is highest among participants who consume four to seven drinks a week compared to those who drink between one and three alcoholic drinks or more than eight.

The sample size was 323 males, so it was a relatively small pool, but that seems to be another reason to stick to a drink a day or so if you are hoping for optimal fertility.

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5. Drinking in moderation can help prevent the common cold.

Although too much alcohol can worsen cold symptoms by dehydrating you and potentially interacting with cold medicines, it seems that moderate drinking can help prevent colds in the first place.

In a 1993 study by the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University researchers found that moderate alcohol consumption has reduced the incidence of the common cold among non-smokers. In 2002, according to New York TimesSpanish researchers found that by drinking eight to 14 glasses of wine a week (especially red wine), those who drank saw a 60% reduction in the risk of colds, with scientists crediting the antioxidants found in wine.

“Wine is rich in antioxidants and these chemicals help prepare your body to fight free radicals in your system by allowing your body to absorb resveratrol, a key compound that helps keep your immune system in top shape, ”Segal told Insider. “Regardless of healthy or unhealthy drinking habits, smokers should expect to deal with the common cold more easily and more often than those who abstain from nicotine consumption.”

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6. You can reduce your chances of dementia.

In a series of studies published in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment in 2011, which began in 1977 and included more than 365,000 participants, the researchers found that moderate drinkers (those who drank one or two drinks a day) were 23% less likely to develop cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, Science Daily reported.

“Small amounts of alcohol can actually make brain cells more fit. “Alcohol in moderate amounts stresses the cells and thus strengthens them to cope with major stresses along the way that can cause dementia,” said Edward J. Neefs, co-author of the study, told Science Daily. “We don’t recommend non-drinkers to start drinking, but moderate drinking – if it’s really moderate – can be helpful.”

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7. There may also be a reduced risk of gallstones.

Limiting drinks to two a day can reduce yours risk of gallstones by a third, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. The 2009 study found that participants who reported consuming two drinks a day reduced their risk of developing gallstones by a third.

“Researchers have emphasized that their findings show the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, but emphasize that excessive alcohol consumption can cause health problems.” according to a press release.

The finding was further supported by 2017 survey conducted by researchers from the School of Public Health at Qingdao University in Qingdao, China, who found that “alcohol consumption is associated with a significantly reduced risk of gallstones.”

As for how it happens, Segal told Insider that “consuming moderate amounts of alcohol helps produce bile, which prevents gallstones from forming completely.”

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8. Postmenopausal women can benefit from bone health from moderate alcohol consumption.

People lose bone mass or density naturally with agewhich can lead to osteoporosis, a disorder in which bones become brittle or weakened. This is especially common in postmenopausal women, who are more susceptible to bone disease due to their naturally smaller bones and hormonal changes after menopause.

But a 2012 study published in the Journal of the North American Menopause Society found that moderate alcohol intake in fact, it can slow bone loss in postmenopausal women, potentially leading to a lower risk of developing bone disorders such as osteoporosis.

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9. You may also be less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.

A 2010 study published in the journal Rheumatology found that people who did not drink were almost four times more likely to have rheumatoid arthritis than those who drink at least one drink three times a week.

Researchers say this is probably due to the anti-inflammatory properties of alcohol, which can help prevent joint pain and swelling. drinking is in moderation.

Researchers have also found that people with arthritis who drink alcohol in moderation have less severe symptoms, although they note that heavy drinking can harm those who already suffer from arthritis, as it can worsen symptoms and interact. with drugs.

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10. By drinking in moderation, you can reap the nutritional benefits offered by wine and beer.

Believe it or not, beer actually has several nutritional benefits that you can take advantage of if you drink in moderation. As you enjoy beer moderately, you will enjoy vitamins, minerals and proteins contains.

Meanwhile, wine contains iron, as well as the aforementioned antioxidant properties.

Of course, a pint of beer should not take the place of the daily multivitamin, but from time to time the drink can be part of an overall balanced diet and lifestyle without adversely affecting your health.

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11. You may also experience improvements in your mental health.

Although there are many physical benefits to drinking in moderation, there are some psychological benefits of moderate alcohol consumption.

A study found that those who consumed low to moderate amounts of alcohol reported increased happiness and “pleasant and carefree feelings.” The researchers also found a reduction in “tension, depression and self-awareness”, saying that “heavy drinkers and abstainers have a higher rate of clinical depression than regular moderate drinkers”.

Although your mental and physical health regarding alcohol is best discussed with your doctor, the link between severe alcohol use and depression is well known and should not be taken lightly.

If you are able to maintain a healthy relationship with alcohol and do not rely on it as a way to deal with stress, anxiety or depression, you can find a healthy balance between moderate drinking and mental health. Talk to your doctor to make sure that alcohol plays a safe and responsible role in your lifestyle.

This article originally appeared on Inside man. Follow @thisisinsider on Twitter.