The Scientific Case for Pouring Yourself a Drink After Work


Drink up, lads and ladies — a daily drink may lower your risk for heart failure.

That's according to a study in the European Heart Journal that tracked the cardiovascular health of 14,629 people for 24 years. The study, conducted by the cardiovascular division at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, found that social drinkers face a lower risk of heart failure than those who drink heavily or abstain from alcohol entirely.

In the group, comprised of 55% women with an average age of 54, researchers found 2,508 incidents of heart failure. Controlling for age, race, hypertension and history, researchers found that men who drank one drink a day — be it a glass of wine, a beer or one-shot cocktail — reduced their risk of heart failure by 20%. Women who did the same had a 16% reduced risk.

This adds to a long list of health benefits science has found in alcohol. A Carnegie Mellon University study  found that moderate alcohol consumption led to a decrease in common cold cases (as long as they didn't smoke). A Dutch study showed that healthy adults who drink one to two glasses of wine per day have a decreased chance of developing Type II diabetes. Furthermore, in a 2009 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers found that alcohol reduced the chances of erectile dysfunction by as much as 30%.

But don't break out the Bud just yet. The cardiovascular benefits of alcohol gradually decline with heavier drinking, the study found. The study's senior author, Scott D. Solomon, told the New York Times that the results aren't a reason to go hog-wild with the hooch. 

"People who drink a little bit, up to moderately, may derive some protective benefit, especially men," he said. "But once you get above one drink a day for women or two for men, your risk of other types of problems goes up." In fact, a drinking lifestyle of more than 21 drinks a week was associated by the researchers with higher mortality from all causes.

But then again, research isn't everything: America's oldest war veteran is a 108-year-old whiskey-drinking, cigar-smoking badass.