Okay, fill up your glass – it’s time to celebrate. The results are in. Moderate drinkers live longer than abstainers. As long as they don’t fall off stuff when they’ve had a few.
All these years I thought I was a hedonistic lush, beat myself up for not being a clean-living yoga devotee, but as it turns out all this time, thanks to my good friend Mr Merlot, I have been on a health kick.
Don’t you just love it when research backs up something you actually enjoy doing rather than shaming you into abstinence? If it were left to the fun police we’d all be drinking water and going to bed by eight.
The scientists have finally come back with a recommendation to support my lifestyle, not change it.
Drinking is good for you! According to the latest research (not funded by Dan Murphy’s, I promise) drinking up to 4½ bottles of wine (sorry, not scotch or bourbon) a week will see you kicking on longer than your teetotalling friends. Yep, Barry who goes home two hours early will probably die in the night. (You’ll just wake up wishing you’d died in the night.)
Now we’re not talking alcoholism here. Clearly if you are drinking 4½ bottles of wine a day then you are going to end up with cirrhosis. That’s the top of the weekly health-endorsed consumption that sees the moderate drinkers inherit the earth.
For years my doctor has asked me how may drinks a night I have. I usually drop it back a glass or two. I say ‘two or three’. It’s rarely two. Who drinks two? I have at least three, sometimes four. But only about three nights a week. I look forward to going back to the doctor and hearing her say, ‘Mandy, I don’t think you are drinking enough’.
Thankfully that nasty ‘one–two-drink daily maximum’ has been increased to as many as four alcoholic drinks for men per day and up to three for women. The weekly max is set at 14 drinks for men and seven for women, but I’m a contender for closing the gap. Not because I want to, but because it’s good for you.
Moderate drinking can lower your risk of dying from heart disease because alcohol raises the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or what the doctor calls ‘good’ cholesterol and higher HDL is associated with protection against heart disease.
That cheeky red or swig of scotch can also protect you against ischemic stroke – that’s when the arteries to your brain become narrowed or blocked. It can also possibly reduce your risk of diabetes. Oh, this is sounding better all the time. I mean, if you combine your moderate drinking with a walk to the bottleshop then you’re like an extreme athlete. Actually they’ll be dead before us too because they’re not that healthy. They don’t drink.
Maybe the Olympics need to introduce some moderate drinking into the events. Might make the cycling a bit more interesting to watch.
Now I’m no poster child for moderate drinking; there are definitely moments when I’ve attempted to consume all my weekly health budget in one night, but these days I’m a lot more conservative. I remember reading something Billy Crystal said once, that he never wanted to drink so much that he had to stop.
I did stop once, for about three years. It was so boring. I was so functional. And efficient. I lived without shame. I actually missed the loose Mandy I usually wake up to regret. The Mandy who does a drop and roll on the dance floor. The Mandy who flashes her tit.
I am sure moderate amounts of alcohol make you live longer because you actually relax a bit and have fun. A little bit of disinhibition has to be good for you. So put that in your pipe and smoke it, my committed abstainers.
Actually apparently as it turns out that’s good for you too! A compound found in marijuana actually removes toxic lumps of dementia causing protein from your brain. Ditch the turmeric, flush the kombucha, coffee enemas and ear candling. Bring on Pot and Booze, health tonics for an ageing generation.