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The Christmas spirit: can alcohol ever be good for you?

publication date: Nov 29, 2019
author/source: Dr Seth Rankin


So can alcohol ever be good for you? It’s hard to be sure but I’d have to say probably not. When you think about it, the bias towards wanting it to be good for us would have to be pretty strong – with so many of us liking a drink and the alcohol industry being so well resourced. Yet despite that there hasn’t been any really convincing evidence that it is good for us.

That said, there are a ton of theories about the benefits of alcohol, including:

  • Prevention against colds Some people believe that the antioxidants in certain alcohol drinks, including wine, can clear up some of the dangerous chemicals that are produced by our bodies. As we said, some people believe this.
  • Oral health top tip Running low on mouth wash? Crack open the drink’s cabinet. The high percentage of alcohol in certain spirits, like vodka, kills mouth bacteria. Even better, add some spearmint for that minty fresh feeling. Whether you want to swap your morning mouthwash for vodka is your call!
  • Beer benefits Did you know that beer contains many essential amino acids and high levels of calcium? If you’re looking to reap the rewards of beer the next time you’re down at your local, opt for a cloudy or unfiltered beer, since filtering is said to get rid of the yeast (which contains Vitamin B). Bottoms up!
  • Better sex? As well as the rumoured aphrodisiac qualities of the hops in beer, according to a study conducted on Australian men and published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2009, the chances of erectile dysfunction might be reduced among alcohol drinkers. However, further research is probably needed to support this connection. And we’re not convinced either.
  • A glass of liquid confidence – We’ve all witnessed the effects of alcohol. One minute we’re shy and reserved, the next we’re professional dancers (or so we think). Alcohol can act as a “social lubricant”, boosting our confidence. And while there’s not much scientific fact behind it, some people swear by having that quick drink in preparation for an upcoming social event they are nervous about.

The takeaway message? Sure, alcohol might have some health benefits, but evidence in support of this claim isn’t certain and the potential devastation wreaked by overindulgence is an indisputable fact. Alcohol should always be drunk in moderation – if at all.

Dr Seth Rankin is the founder of London Doctors Clinic.