Alcohol tends to get a bad rap for offering nothing but empty calories. Sure, we’ve all heard that a glass of red wine can be good for the heart, but is that really it?
Actually, plenty of research has found health benefits in several of your favorite late-night drinks—not just wine.
In fact, drinking in moderation can help strengthen your brain power and even keep sudden colds at bay!
Here are just a few different ways drinking can be good for you:
- Alcohol can be good for your kidneys: Surprisingly, a 2013 study found that while sugary drinks increase your risk of developing kidney stones, booze—like beer and wine—can actually lower your risk. As Shape points out, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean you should guzzle down four beers after dinner. What it does suggest is that one beer might be better for your kidneys than one can of soda.
- Vodka can serve as mouthwash: Out of your favorite minty mouthwash? Well, according to Renee McGregor, author of Training Food, vodka really isn’t a bad germ-killing substitute. She told Shape that the high percentage of alcohol in vodka gives it some pretty good antibacterial properties. While you probably don’t want to start gargling with vodka in the morning, it might be a good drink to order when your mouth is feeling a little unclean.
- Vodka cranberry can boost brain power: According to Shape, a recent study published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition found that being moderately inebriated (not drunk) can help solve creative problems. In the study, the researchers gave men vodka cranberries until their blood alcohol levels reached .075. They were surprised to see that the men drinking alcohol were able to solve more creative tasks quicker than the sober participants.
- Wine can keep a cold at bay: When you drink in excess, you can seriously compromise your immune system. However, booze in moderation may be able to strengthen your body to fight against disease and sickness. Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University studied rhesus macaques—monkeys that have similar immune systems to humans—and found that those who consumed alcohol in moderation had stronger immune systems than the sober participants and those who went overboard.
- Beer is a good source of B vitamins: Thanks to the barley and hops used to make beer, this summer favorite is packed with healthy B vitamins—more so than both wine and cider. According to Shape, you can add to those incredible health benefits by choosing light beers that contain fewer calories.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments!
Photo Copyright © 2010 Wagner T. Cassimiro "Aranha"/Flickr