8 Sep 2011

Graceful ageing being helped by daily drink

7:38 am on 8 September 2011

Research from the Harvard School of Public Health in the United States suggests that a few drinks a day can help women of a certain age grow old gracefully.

The survey found that a glass of wine or a single measure of spirit per day could have positive effects on the mind and the body.

PLoS Medicine reports a study of 14,000 women concluded that those who drink in moderation were far more likely to reach 70 in good health than heavier drinkers or abstainers.

The researchers say that spreading consumption over the week is better than saving it for the weekend.

Women who drank little and often fared better than occasional drinkers.

Compared with non-drinkers, women in their mid-50s who drank 15-30g of alcohol (one to two drinks) a day had a 28% greater likelihood of achieving what the US researchers call ''successful ageing''.

And women who drank on five to seven days of the week had almost double the chance of good overall health in old age compared with complete abstainers.

The BBC says experts are not sure whether it is the alcohol itself that is conferring the benefit, or whether it simply goes hand in hand with other things in the lives of the women that makes them healthier.