If you have a glass of wine with dinner, or an occasional drink after a particularly bad day, you may to want to raise your glass and give a toast to this news. A new large-scale study out of Spain found that drinking wine in moderation may be associated with a lower risk of developing depression.
When my kids were small and I was working full-time with a crazy long commute and a husband who traveled out of town a lot, the days were stressful, hectic, and often ended with a relaxing glass of wine after my children were in bed for the night. These days I am more of a social drinker, who reserves it for a night out with friends. As life has changed that glass of wine is needed less often, but it sure does help put the brakes on a particularly stressful day.
Researchers found that drinking two to seven small glasses of wine per week (note that I just said small glasses), showed the lowest rates of depression.
According to the Wine Institute, the United States is the largest wine market for consumption in the world, with 19 consecutive years of growth. It has long been known that there are physical health benefits to drinking wine in moderation, but this new study measures its mental health benefits. Some studies had previously shown that heavy alcohol intake is related to mental health issues like depression, but the relationship between mental health and light-to-moderate alcohol consumption had yet to be explored.
It is important to note that we are talking about fully grown adults here, as well as those who do not suffer from depression or alcohol-related concerns. If you have just passed the legal drinking age and have yet to know your personal tolerance levels, this does not give you a pass to drink your future depression away.
In fact, the study’s participants were between 55 and 80 years old, and had no previous issues with depression or alcohol-related problems. Researchers followed them, all 5,500 of them, for up to seven years. Their alcohol consumption, mental health, and lifestyles were monitored closely through yearly visits, repeated medical exams, interviews with dieticians and questionnaires. The results show an inverse relationship between light-to-moderate alcohol intake and incidence of depression. Interestingly, the results remained significant even when adjusted for factors such as smoking, diet, and marital status.
The researchers suspect that properties in the wine, such as resveratrol and other phenolic compounds, may have protective effects on certain areas of the brain, in much the same way as they do for the heart. Great news, isn’t it?
So pop the cork and celebrate that bit of good news, why don’t you. After all, it’s certainly not anything to be depressed about. Cheers!
Please note that this post is intended to share information and ideas, as well as to create conversation. Please consult a medical professional before making changes to your lifestyle.
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