A new Harvard University study finds that women could pave the way for healthy aging by imbibing one alcoholic drink a day - as long as it's just one, no more, no less.

A study of 14,000 middle-aged women concluded that those who drank in moderation - meaning about the same as a pint of beer, small glass of wine, or a single measure of spirits - were far more likely to reach 70 in good health than heavier drinkers or teetotalers.

"These data suggest that regular, moderate consumption of alcohol at midlife may be related to a modest increase in overall health status among women who survive to older ages," the study said.

The new study was published September 6 online in the the journal PLoS Medicine.

This news follows another study in the British Medical Journal this Feburary that found that people who drink alcohol in moderation are up to 25 percent less likely to develop heart disease compared to abstainers.

Moderate drinking - one daily drink for women, two for men - can significantly increase the levels of "good" cholesterol circulating in the body, which can have a protective effect against heart disease.

A glass of red wine is a good choice: among other health benefits, researchers at Johns Hopkins University in the US discovered that red wine "protects the brain from damage following a stroke."

But be mindful of portions: a large glass of wine might actually be two servings rather than one.

 

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