For those of you dealing with a slight Super Bowl hangover right now, we’ve got some news that might ease the guilt. According to researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center, low levels of alcohol can actually lower inflammation in the brain and help it clear away toxins—including those linked to serious diseases like Alzheimer’s.Thanks, science.
The study was recently published in Scientific Reports journal and focuses on the glymphatic system, which is basically the brain’s cleaning process. Researchers worked with mice, exposing them to low levels of alcohol (the equivalent of about two-and-a-half drinks per day) and studied the results. They found the mice had less inflammation in their brains and a more efficient waste removal process when compared to a group of mice who were not exposed to alcohol.
“Studies have shown that low to moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lesser risk of dementia, while heavy drinking for many years confers an increased risk of cognitive decline. This study may help explain why this occurs,” explained the study’s lead author, Maiken Nedergaard, co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Of course, we’re not talking about drinking an entire bottle of wine here, the researchers only found benefits with small amounts of wine: “Specifically, low doses of alcohol appear to improve overall brain health,” Nedergaard said.
This isn’t the first time that scientists have found drinking wine could benefit your health. Other research also suggests that a glass or two of wine can support your overall health, and specifically the heart. One study last year found that drinking alcohol in moderation can actually reduce mortality risks from all causes—including heart disease. Of course, the catch here is that the studies promote drinking in moderation: Just one or two glasses.