Alcohol is the Goldilocks of the nutrition world. Too much can be destructive to your health, raising your blood pressure and your risk of developing several kinds of cancer. Too little may hold you back from some of the benefits that moderate drinkers enjoy, like lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, mortality and type-2 diabetes.
The amount that’s just right, according to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, might be a nightly glass of wine with dinner—for some people, anyway.
Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel wanted to look at how safe and effective it is for a specific group of people—those with well-controlled type-2 diabetes and who had a low risk for alcohol abuse—to drink moderately. People with type-2 diabetes are more likely than the general population to develop cardiovascular disease and have lower levels of heart-protective HDL cholesterol, the authors note.
But there’s a disclaimer, of course. Drinking every day can be a “slippery slope that a lot of people can’t safely navigate,” O’Keefe says. “If they start drinking daily and they drink a bottle or two a day, that’s a disaster.”
For those who can safely imbibe, one glass of dry red wine—like pinot noir or Cannonau—with the largest meal of the day is the very best pairing, O’Keefe says. “If you’re going to drink red wine, this study is a good reminder to do it the old fashioned way: drink it with a Mediterranean meal high in vegetables and fish and lower in meat, with fruit for dessert and using olive oil. Doing it in a social, relaxed setting also goes a long way to improving health and happiness.”