benefits of alcohol

  1. Booze beats vaccines

    Monkey business: How booze may boost your immune system

    Forget vaccine shots -- and get yourself a shot of booze instead!

    It's no secret that alcohol is one of the best all-natural immune-boosters around. Now, new research confirms (yet again) that a drink or two a day could help keep disease away.

    In this study, monkeys vaccinated against smallpox were given either sugar water or booze in any amount they liked.

    While hard-drinking monkeys had the weakest immune system response, the moderate drinkers had the best -- far better than that of the monkeys given only sugar water and no booze at all.

    The conclusion from the researchers is that alcohol may help enhance the effects of vaccination by boosting the immune system.

    My conclusion? Skip the vaccines and go right for the booze instead. You'll get enough of a lift to help your immune system prevent disease -- including colds and flu -- and none of the risks that come with shots.

    Vaccinations, on the other hand, can actually do just the opposite. They can weaken your immune system by stripping of you of your natural protections against disease. (Case in point: The dramatic rise in adult shingles, a direct result of childhood chicken pox shots. Expect this to get even worse in the coming years.)

    And of course, that's not all a moderate drinking habit will do for you. Booze can help prevent dementia, heart attack, stroke and heart disease. And while red wine usually gets the credit for these benefits, studies have shown that it really doesn't matter what you drink -- any alcohol at all will help, as long as you enjoy it in moderation.

  2. Beer can keep colds away

    Compound in hops can fight cold virus

    Feel a cold coming on? Don't reach for the Nyquil -- reach for a beer instead.

    Over-the-counter cold meds don't actually do anything for the cold itself. They might relieve some of the symptoms, but most of them work by knocking you out so you sleep through the worst of it.

    That's not a cure. That's a coma!

    Beer, on the other hand, can pull off a trick that those meds can't -- because it contains a secret ingredient that can fight the syncytial virus behind respiratory infections.

    That same bug is also part of the family of viruses that includes pneumonia, so it's one you REALLY don't want to mess around with.

    Now, researchers say an anti-inflammatory compound called humulone can beat that virus on its own turf. Humulone comes specifically from the hops that give beer its bitter edge -- so if you want maximum protection, you want a beer with maximum hops, such as an IPA.

    While other studies have shown you can get the virus-fighting benefits from as little as a single beer, the researchers behind the latest study say the biggest protection kicks in at levels most of us won't come close to reaching -- or what you'd get from roughly 30 beers.

    You'd have to be either insane... or in try that.

    Of course, on a more practical level, the little ones who face the biggest risks from this virus can't drink any beer at all. So, the researchers are working on isolating the compound and putting higher levels into other drinks, foods, or maybe even a supplement.

    That could take years -- so in the meantime, if you're old enough, crack open a beer.

    Just don't try to drink 30 of them. That won't cure your cold... but it might kill you!

  3. Don't change this ‘bad' habit!

    A new study shows Americans have an average of less than a drink a day -- but those aren't the empty calories they're often made out to be. They're healthy.

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