Science Suggests Drinking Is Good For Your Brain, Anything to Rationalize It Right Now Works

You don’t need an excuse to drink, but we’re always on the lookout for a scientifically-based justification to indulge in our favorite adult beverages. Well, now we have a new one thanks to a study recently published in JAMA. It followed 20,000 subjects for a period of 12 years and measured their alcohol intake and cognition along the way.

The study found that people who partook in low to moderate drinking had higher cognition scores for mental status, word recall, and vocabulary than those who abstained from alcohol. The drinkers also had less decline in each of the aforementioned cognitive areas as they aged.

So, booze might be good for your brain. But what does “low to moderate” drinking mean? For men, it means glugging down fewer than 15 drinks a week. (That’s a two a day, with an extra drink on one of those days, for those of you who failed math.)

“There is now a lot of observational evidence showing that light to moderate alcohol drinking is associated with better cognitive function and a lower risk of dementia compared with alcohol abstaining,” Kaarin Anstey, a senior principal research scientist and a director of the NHMRC Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration in Australia, said about the study.

There are a few hitches, of course. The study participants were predominately white and female with a mean age of 62, so these findings might not be applicable to young men (meaning you). There’s also the fact that not all alcohol consumption is considered equal; what you drink and when you drink it matter. For instance, if you guzzle down a couple of drinks on an empty stomach before bed, the alcohol may interfere with your sleep quality, which can increase your risk of dementia. And, of course, there are many studies that suggest that alcohol in any quantity is bad for your health, not just your brain.

So take these study results with a grain of salt – before you take a shot of tequila, preferably – and drink to your health.

Cover Photo: South_agency (Getty Images)

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