Good news for
winos oenophiles! Alcohol is a depressant, but drinking wine in moderation may lower your risk of depression, according to new research.
The Spanish study followed more than 5,500 light to moderate drinkers, between 55 and 80 years old, for up to seven years. The study participants had never had depression or had alcohol-related problems. Their alcohol consumption, mental health and lifestyles were assessed through yearly visits, repeated medical exams, interviews and questionnaires.
The drink of choice of most of the study participants was wine (this was a Spanish study, after all). When the results were analyzed, it was shown that those who drank moderate amounts of wine each week were less likely to suffer from depression than those who abstained or were heavy imbibers. The lowest rate of depression was seen in the group of individuals who drank two to seven small glasses of wine per week.
The results remained significant even when adjusted for lifestyle and social factors such as smoking, diet and marital status.
“Lower amounts of alcohol intake might exert protection in a similar way to what has been observed for coronary heart disease. In fact, it is believed that depression and coronary heart disease share some common disease mechanisms,” Professor Miguel A. Martínez-González of the University of Navarra (Spain), senior author of the paper, which was published in BMC Medicine, said in a news release.
Previous studies have indicated that non-alcoholic compounds in the wine, such as resveratrol and other phenolic compounds, may have protective effects on certain areas of the brain.
However, prior studies have linked heavy alcohol intake to mental health problems such as depression and sleeping in gutters.
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