To your health!

Their timing couldn’t be better. New medical research reinforces the belief that a drink a day is beneficial to health. Sadly, any more than that eliminates any obvious health benefit. Writing in The New England Journal of Medicine, American Cancer Society investigators described their study of 490,000 middle-age Americans. The authors said “overall death rates were lowest among men and women reporting about one (alcoholic) drink daily.”

Of course, heavy drinking is another story. Death rates “from all causes among those reporting four or more daily drinks exceeded the rates among nondrinkers.” Compared to women who do not drink, the rate of death from breast cancer was 30 percent higher for those reporting at least one daily drink. The researchers also noted that men who drink regularly face a 30 percent higher risk of death from accidents or intentional injuries.

Overall, the daily-drink regimen appears to cut the risk of heart disease death, a significant fact for seniors. Compared to those who drink no alcohol, people who keep to a drink a day have a 20 percent lower risk of death from all causes.

Another study reports the now well-known benefits of winen the digestive system. Wine’s unique combination of ethyl alcohol and antioxidant compounds can help combat food-borne bacteria and aid digestion, according to findings by Martin Weisse, M.D., an associate professor with the University of West Virginia School of Medicine.

The study suggests that wine is a healthy mealtime beverage choice, not only for its well-documented heart disease benefits, but also due to its antibacterial properties, Weisse said. He said that red and white wine effectively kill bacteria responsible for food poisoning, dysentery and diarrhea.

He concluded that wine was more effective than bismuth salicylate, the active ingredient in Pepto Bismol in eliminating food-born bacteria that cause stomach illnesses. He said that a phenolic compound activated during fermentation generates wine’s antimicrobial activity. His works confirms earlier Center For Disease Control studies that show that alcohol exhibited a protective effect against food-borne bacteria such as salmonella and shigella.