moderate drinking

  1. Your thirsty, thirsty brain

    Coca-Cola used to call its drink "the ideal brain tonic," proving that companies put marketing ahead of reality even in the long-ago days of Way Back When.

    But while soda will actually rot your brain, there's another beverage that really can protect it -- and it's something many of us already enjoy at the end of the day: Booze.

    I've told you before how alcohol can boost your health and well-being and slash your disease risk, and a new study confirms that a moderate drinking habit can even save your brain from the ravages of dementia.

    Researchers tracked 3,202 Germans over the age of 75 who did not have dementia at the start of the three-year study. Roughly half didn't drink at all, while 25 percent sipped less than one a day, 13 percent enjoyed between one and two, and 12 percent drank even more than that.

    Overall, the researchers found that the moderate drinkers -- those who had a glass or two a day -- were 30 percent less likely to develop dementia during the study period than non-drinkers.

    These healthy drinkers also had a 40 percent lower risk of the most frightening cognitive disorder of all: Alzheimer's disease.

    Wine was the most popular drink, followed by beer... but the researchers wrote in Age and Ageing that there were no significant differences in the types of booze -- just between moderate drinkers and nondrinkers.

    Other studies have also found that drinking can protect the brain and lower the risk of dementia. Research published in 2009 found that seniors who enjoyed between eight and 14 drinks a week were 37 percent less likely to develop dementia than nondrinkers.

    Another study published last year found that women who have a drink or two a day have a 52 percent lower risk of Alzheimer's, while men can lower the odds by 20 percent.

    Think that's all? Not even close -- there's actually been more than 70 studies on this over the years, and most of them have reached a similar conclusion.

    Just remember: Too much booze can actually hurt your brain, not save it. Heavy drinkers have a higher risk of dementia, and by some estimates alcohol abuse plays a role in up to 10 percent of all cases.

    Keep it moderate, however, and you won't just protect your brain. A healthy drinking habit can lower the risk cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer.

    Drinkers are also happier, wealthier, smarter -- and they even live longer, too.

  2. Meat & fried food: the secret to a long life

    Diet advice usually comes with a whole lot of don'ts: Don't eat this, and don't drink that.

    So let me add one more "don't" to the list: Don't listen to all that mainstream nonsense... because you don't have to give up your favorite foods to live long, and a new study proves it.

    The only other "don't" you really need is this one: Don't eat sugar--because researchers have confirmed that it's the quickest path to an early grave.

    The researchers also say the best way to ensure a long and healthy life is through a diet high in what the mainstream considers healthy food: low-fat dairy, fish, vegetables and whole grains.

    But don't put down your steak knife just yet, because the researchers also found something else... something they weren't quite as eager to discuss in the pages of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

    Something they later admitted was "unexpected," probably because it doesn't jibe with all those "don'ts" you usually hear: People who ate the most meat and fried foods and had a steady, moderate drinking habit lived just as long as the so- called "healthy" eaters.

    And that means maybe you don't have to stick to poached chicken and salad greens after all.

    In the study, researchers tracked more than 2,500 adults between the ages of 70 and 79 for 10 years, splitting them into six groups based on the types of food they ate most frequently: "healthy foods," "high-fat dairy," "meat, fried foods, and alcohol," "breakfast cereal," "refined grains" and "sweets and desserts."

    After adjusting for risk factors, they found that high-fat dairy eaters--think ice cream--had a 40 percent higher risk of dying during the study period, while the sweets-and-desserts crowd had a 37 percent higher risk of death.

    That's compared to the so-called healthy eaters... but that's where the researchers lose some credibility here--because even though the seniors in the "meat, fried foods and alcohol" group were just as likely to remain alive as those on the supposedly healthy diet, they were practically ignored.

    It was as if they couldn't explain it... so they didn't even bother to try, despite the fact that those eaters represented the single biggest group in the study, with nearly twice as many of them than in the supposedly healthy group.

    Sounds to me like it's time to fry yourself a steak, crack open a beer--and ignore all the "don'ts."

    Your diet is just one measure of how long you might live... keep reading for an even simpler one.

  3. How alcohol alters sexual reality

    It turns out liquor can actually impair your ability to interpret visual cues from members of the opposite sex, and two new studies show just how those genuine "beer goggles" can cloud your vision.
  4. Drink to beat dementia

    A little coffee in the morning, a little booze at night-– two new studies show how your choice of beverage can help lower your risk for cognitive decline and even Alzheimer's disease.

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