A study finds that middle-aged women who indulge in one drink a day or less on a regular basis may have a better chance of being healthier when they're older.
The study, released in the journal PLoS Medicine on Wednesday, looked at data on alcohol consumption among 121,700 female nurses who were part of the Nurses' Health Study. Of the participants, 13,894 lived to the age of 70 or older.
Moderate drinking has been linked to successful aging. Women who drank five or more grams of alcohol (between one-third and one drink) per day and spread their drinking out over three to seven days a week had better odds of successful aging compared with non-drinkers.
Researchers found that spreading out drinking throughout the week was linked to better general health, but drinking just one to two days a week was not.
Compared with teetotalers, women who drank several days out of the week had a 50 percent better chance of overall good health later in life.
After taking into account other factors that might affect health and disease risk - like smoking, the researchers found that women who drank light or moderate amounts of alcohol were less likely to develop chronic diseases as they aged.
Researchers claim the results support the recent recommendations that moderate alcohol consumption of up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men may provide health benefits.