The positive health outcomes associated with moderate consumption of alcohol have been reported so often recently that a reasonable response would be to go find your fave and crack into it at your table tonight. But, if you can’t remember when you enjoyed your last beer, maybe you need to enjoy more often…really!
In a recent review of previous studies from Korea, Alcohol and Cognition in the Elderly: A Review, it has been found that low to moderate consumption by the elderly offers protective value against dementia and cognitive decline compared to abstaining. As with nearly all other studies, binge drinking or overconsumption have an opposite, damaging effect, so moderation is key. While we were amused by Cliff Clavin’s “Buffalo Theory” on Cheers, excessive intake and brain health just doesn’t stand up to science.
Low to moderate drinking (LMD) is actually part of a healthy lifestyle that decreases the risk of dementia in the elderly. LMD is shown to have a neuroprotective effect through a variety of pathways, and, is more beneficial to congnition than both heavy drinking and non-drinking. In general, LMD protects the quantity and quality of your brain’s grey and white matter.
The next time you wonder about that beer you’re planning to enjoy with dinner, you can take comfort knowing that you’re likely actually protecting your gray matter, improving your mood, relieving stress and aiding intimacy creation. These outcomes are great for consumers of any legal drinking age, but they are especially important for the elderly whose lifestyles often suffer in these areas. So enjoy your favorite beer in moderation, confident that you’re drinking to your health.