It's common knowledge that a glass or two of red wine a night will do more than enhance a great meal or put you to sleep: it can reduce production of "bad" cholesterol, boost "good" cholesterol and reduce blood clotting, all of which will help reduce the risk of heart disease. But recent studies are showing that wine aficionados may also reap even more benefits, from inhibiting tumor development to helping form nerve cells. Here's a roundup of four recent studies that might encourage you to uncork that bottle of merlot:
1. It Can Help Keep You Fit: For senior citizens who are already in shape, moderate alcohol intake can help prevent the development of physical disabilities, according to a new UCLA study in the American Journal of Epidemiology. (The National Institutes of Health recommends no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.) Researchers found that moderate drinkers in a national survey had a lower risk than heavy drinkers or abstainers of developing physical problems that impeded their abilities to walk or dress or groom themselves. But don't take that as a cue to rest easy: the benefits only applied to seniors who were already in good health. Seniors in poor health may already be too close to developing disabilities for the wine to be of much use, researchers said.