It’s the end of a long day and for millions of American baby boomers, it’s time to pop the reticent cork on a tasty bottle of Chardonnay, or to rim the margarita glass with salt. The lure of a drink, accompanied by titillating social conversation, an enhanced appetite and the promise of a “good evening,” has embraced followers for centuries. Alcohol is also medicinal, antiseptic and analgesic, says David J. Hanson, Ph.D., whose history of the alcoholic beverage is worthy of a toast.
Who knew the first drinks were consumed in 10,000 B. C.? Still the controversy about the merits versus the demerits of alcohol continues, and no doubt will for another few thousand years. After all, alcohol was banned during prohibition, but it didn’t go away.
To Your Health?
This story in Canada’s National Post in April centered on baby boomers that enjoy a good tipple. The piece noted a 2010 U. S. study of almost 2,000 mature adults, ages 55 to 65. In that study, participants were divided into those moderate drinkers who had one or two drinks daily, and those who were teetotalers. After 20 years, results showed the abstainers’ mortality rates twice as high as that of the “moderates.”
*Additionally, a recent University of Calgary study determined moderate drinkers are up to 25% less likely to develop heart disease. The Calgary team found alcohol bumped good cholesterol up and decreased clotting—thinning the blood.
*A 2006 Australian study showed that abstainers and women 50 to 65 who rarely drink had a significantly higher risk of dying than women who consumed a low intake of alcohol.
Not So Fast, Now
Of course, health care professionals warn that if one hasn’t begun drinking, this sort of data isn’t reason enough to head to BevMo or Total Wine. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reminds us gals that:
*When drinking equal amounts, women tend to absorb more alcohol when they drink, and take longer to break it down and remove it from our bodies compared to our male counterparts.
*Women are often more vulnerable than men to the long-term effects of alcohol on their health. Over time, drinking too much alcohol can lead to cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon. The risk for cirrhosis and other alcohol-related liver diseases is higher for women than for men.
*Women who drink excessively are at increased risk for damage to the heart muscle than men. Binge drinking can lead to high blood pressure and increase the risk for heart attack and stroke.
We baby boomer women must to weigh the pros and cons of alcohol use and so much more, like hormones—or not. How fortunate are we, though, to have access to so much relevant information that guides us to make wiser choices? That’s why I’m glad to share it with you here, so you, too, will build a better boomer. Cheers!
(Photo courtesy: © David Hyde | Dreamstime.com)