I often write about the many impressive health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption.
In fact, studies show that people who enjoy a few drinks a week live longer and healthier lives than teetotalers.
And now, a new study shows that raising a glass may even help protect you against contracting COVID-19!
There’s just one catch…the type of alcohol in your glass matters.
Certain types of drinkers gained protection against COVID-19
For this new study, researchers analyzed data on about 500,000 men and women involved in the U.K. Biobank study. Specifically, they looked at the effect of different types of alcohol consumption on the COVID-19 infection and mortality rates. Here’s what they found…
First off, they observed no difference between moderate drinkers and teetotalers when it came to mortality rates. So, moderate drinking doesn’t make the difference between life and death, if you contract COVID-19.
But it DOES seem to help protect you against infection in the first place.
In fact, moderate drinkers were less likely to contract COVID-19. And wine drinkers gained the most protection…
Those who drank one to two glasses of red wine per day had up to a 17 percent lower risk of contracting COVID-19 compared to teetotalers. Plus, people who drank five or fewer glasses of white wine per week had a moderate 7 to 8 percent reduction in risk.
On the other hand, heavy drinking of any kind (more than 14 drinks per week) raised the risk of contracting COVID-19. This finding makes sense, as heavy drinking harms your overall health.
The researchers also found that people who drank hard cider or beer, no matter the amount, had a 28 percent higher risk of contracting the virus. And those who drank more than five servings of spirits had a higher risk, too.
Now, I have to say, that finding came as a bit of a surprise to me, as studies on alcohol and health typically show a broad benefit for drinking ANY kind.
Though, in this case, the increased risk of contracting COVID-19 may relate more to the fact that people tend to drink beer (and spirits) in larger group settings (such as at bars and pubs). In these settings, overindulgence may creep up on you, too.
By comparison, regular wine drinking often occurs at home with a spouse or a small, inner circle of family and friends, which would tend to limit exposure to COVID-19.
Of course, as the researchers pointed out, both red and white wine contain polyphenols—the potent plant compounds also found in coffee, chocolate, and olive oil. And studies link long-term consumption of these compounds to many impressive health benefits, including a reduced risk of developing:
- Blood clots
- Brain diseases, cancer, heart disease, and obesity
- Harmful oxidation and inflammation (the No. 1 culprit behind most chronic diseases)
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar
I should also note that making red wine, which involves longer contact with grape skins, contains more polyphenols than white wine. That fact alone could perhaps explain why red wine drinkers in this study had a slight edge over white wine drinkers.
However, as you know, it often limits thinking when researchers try to pinpoint one single, “magic- bullet” ingredient. So, I’m hesitant to give all the credit to polyphenols.
Instead, I advise we just take the study at face value…and enjoy a glass (or two) of red or white wine with dinner. Clearly, it will help protect you against contracting COVID-19, as well as provide you with a wealth of other health benefits.
To learn more about how polyphenols can help give you a whole-body “reboot,” check out the June 2018 issue of Insiders’ Cures, my monthly newsletter (“Seven keys to a whole-body health reboot”). If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to become one.
Not to mention, a quick search of my archives will turn up sources that show how all types of alcohol in moderation can help boost your health—beer and spirits included.