YOUR GUIDE TO GROWNUP DRINKING
To Drink or Not to Drink? Time to take a sober look at your approach By Beth Howard
ONE STUDY says alcohol is great for your health. The next study shows it’s deadly. So which is it? A little of both, experts say. Moderate drinking-up to two drinks a day for men and one drink daily for women-seems to have some protective benefits, but more than that does more harm than good. People over age 65 should have no more than seven drinks total over a week’s time, the National Institutes of Health says.
THE GOOD NEWS
Moderate amounts of wine beer and liquor can enhance your heart and brain health, and lower your risk for diabetes. Alcohol at moderate levels also seems to improve circulation and decrease inflammation, says dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, author of The Flexitarian Diet.
THE BAD NEWS
Heavy drinking increases your risk of heart failure, dementia, disability and frailty, in part because it impairs the body’s ability to pump blood.
Take this quiz:
ARE YOU DRINKING TOO MUCH?
Do you ever underestimate how much you drink?
Do you often take a drink to relax, or calm your nerves?
Do you drink to take your mind off your problems?
Have you ever made rules to manage your drinking?
If you’re lonely, does drinking make you feel better?
Scoring: One or more “yes” answers could be the sign of an alcohol problem.
Discover which meds have dangerous alcohol interactions at aarp.org/magazine.
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