We all tend to put on a few pounds as we get older... but a new study finds a simple way for women to help limit that weight gain.

Just drink a little more.

Researchers who examined data on 19,220 women in the Women's Health Study found that those who enjoyed a drink or two a day were 30 percent less likely to be overweight or obese over the course of the 13-year study.

Not bad for a little booze!

And while the strongest protection against weight gain appeared to come from red wine, the researchers found that drinkers of all kinds of booze--from beer to bourbon-- were less likely to be overweight or obese.

Women who drank no alcohol at all, meanwhile, had the highest weight gain--even after accounting for diet, lifestyle, fitness and habits, according to the study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study didn't include men, but the researchers say they don't believe booze has the same impact on their waistlines.

That may be because women tend to have a drink instead of a snack, or eat less food while drinking. Men, on the other hand, won't necessarily eat less just because they're drinking.

But there's also a more biological explanation: Booze affects us differently. When women drink, they can actually burn off more calories. It's sort of like exercise, except instead of lifting a dumbbell you get to raise a wine glass.

That doesn't seem to happen to men.

I've written to you before about some of the terrific health benefits that come with drinking, and the latest research shows once again why it's a terrific habit for most people--as long as you have the power to keep it moderate.

In addition to helping women keep the weight off, alcohol has been shown to boost cardiovascular health in men and women alike. Studies have also found that moderate drinkers live longer, healthier lives.

Booze can even help fight off anxiety and depression.

So it doesn't matter if you're a man or woman, and whether you enjoy beer or Bordeaux, there's really just one perfect way to end each day: Raise your glass in a toast to your own good health.