What man doesn’t love a drink every now and again? The kind of man we don’t trust very much. Since the days of the ancient Germans, people have known what makes for the good life: wine, women and song. We’re not big wine drinkers, but we back the sentiment. After a long day of work, few things beat relaxing with a cold brew or some top-shelf Scotch. There’s just one problem. Some eggheads claim drinking is somehow “detrimental to your health.” We’ve got some news them: some other eggheads say drinking is actually good for you. Here are just a few of the wonderful byproducts of booze.
1. Better Job Performance
Anyone who has ever called in sick because of a hangover (i.e. amateurs) is going to be shocked by this one: moderate drinkers have lower rates of absenteeism than their teetotaling counterparts. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who don’t drink, quit drinking or drink a ton were absent from work about 1.2 times as much as those who have a couple drinks and call it a night. The study also found those drinkers do better work and earn more. One researcher stated that, “the higher rate of sickness absences among non-drinkers than among moderate drinkers may result from a lack of the protective effects of alcohol intake.” Please remember the phrase “protective effects of alcohol intake.” It’ll come in handy eventually.
2. Quicker Wits
When you have a couple drinks, you don’t stop making sense. You start making the most sense you’ve ever made in your life. At least, that’s what a study from neuroscience journal Consciousness and Cognition says. Under the premise that liquor fosters creativity, 20 people watched a cartoon while snacking and drinking vodka. The drinkers were then given three words and had to come up with a fourth that united them all. For example, when given “arm,” “peach” and “tar,” the proper answer is “pit.” The drinkers were able to supply the right answer about four seconds faster than the non-drinkers. The reason? Well, the most obvious one. When you drink, you can’t keep your mouth shut.
3. Long-Term Mental Strength
You can’t tell because of the morph suit, but this man is 106 years old. And really freakin’ smart.
It isn’t just that drinkers are better at cute little word games. They also have better cognitive functioning over the long term, even into old age. A study in the New England Journal Of Medicine found that not only did moderate drinkers have better cognitive functioning than nondrinkers, there were also no significantly increased cognitive risks associated with higher levels of drinking. Further, it doesn’t matter what you drink. Want a beer? Have a beer. Want some Scotch? Go for it, brother. Science says it keep those brain juices flowing.
4. Greater Optimism
Why’s he smiling? It’s either the beer… or the thought of running for president against Daddy Mom Jeans.
Research shows non-drinkers experience more depression and anxiety than those who have a couple of drinks a day. But here’s a shocker: non-drinkers were even more depressed than people who get utterly hammered on the regular. Researchers were first concerned that their study was flawed because it included both people who had never started drinking as well as people who had to quit. And really, what’s more depressing than a drunk on the wagon? Still, even after removing the AA set, researchers found the same results. Remember this next time someone knocks alcohol as a depressant.
5. Stronger Hearts
It may seems surprising, but researchers are now in near universal agreement that a drink or two a day is good for your circulatory system and heart. It’s not just lower rates of death from heart attack or stroke. You’re also at a significantly diminished risk of getting heart disease when you drink. Still, you’re probably asking why. Well, scientists suspect that it has something to do with the effects of alcohol on HDL or “good cholesterol.” Alcohol raises HDL levels perhaps more than any other environmental factor. It might also act as a blood thinner to prevent death from stroke or heart attack. You know, like aspirin.
6. Various and Sundry Health Effects
For every solid health benefit of drinking, there are about a dozen things that repeated studies have found but medical science doesn’t quite understand yet. For example, did you know that drinkers have fewer gallstones than non-drinkers? Researchers suspect alcohol in the liver thins the waste produced by that organ. Also, UCLA researchers found that a small amount of alcohol doubled the life expectancy of tiny worms. While you’re not a worm, you do happen to have genetic counterparts to half the genes in the model organism used in the study. And a study at Catholic University of Campobasso found that up to four drinks a day for men reduces the likelihood of dying from any cause at all by about 18 percent. As with everything on this list, gents, we will drink to that!