The Benefit: Lowers Heart Disease Risk
Like to unwind with a drink at the end of every workday? Don’t beat yourself up over that evening trip to the liquor cabinet. Drinking in moderation is one of the three key behaviors that may help you live longer, according to experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the other two are eating right and getting enough exercise). That’s because the ethanol (a.k.a. alcohol) acts like an anti-inflammatory and increases HDL or “good” cholesterol, which breaks up the bad cholesterol that gets stuck in your arteries, says Eric Rimm, Sc.D., associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. The result: a lower risk for heart disease and stroke. Be sure to stick to a two-drink maximum; any more and you start mitigating (or even reversing) the healthy benefits of the booze.