By NICK CHILES
Researchers at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital have concluded that women who engage in light to moderate drinking at the end of a rough day have a lower risk of stroke. And another study in Sweden found the same result from eating chocolate! From this husband’s perspective, this is what I call a win-win—if I hand my wife a glass of wine and some chocolate, the slow smile that will spread across her face will not only make the entire household a happier place (and I might get lucky later on!), but now I find out it’ll actually make her live longer? These researchers up in Cambridge and in Sweden are my new best friends.
The Cambridge researchers studied data on a total of 83,578 women over the course of 26 years as part of an ongoing federally funded project called the Nurses’ Health Study. The project’s aim is to find out how things like diet, alcohol consumption and other lifestyle factors affect a woman’s long-term health. In a world where there isn’t nearly enough research done on women’s health issues, we should all applaud Harvard and the federal government for spending money to study how lifestyle influences the health of American women.
In the study, this is how the population broke down: 35 percent of the women reported very low levels of consumption (less than half a glass of win a day); 37 percent reported moderate levels (between a half of a glass and one and a half glasses of wine a day, or one beer or mixed drink); 30 percent abstained completely; and 11 percent reported drinking more than one mixed drink a day.
The women who consumed low to moderate amounts of alcohol had a lower stroke risk than the women who never drank. (There wasn’t enough data on the heavy drinkers to draw strong conclusions—they probably were too drunk to finish the survey!) Researchers attributed this to the components in alcohol that prevent blood clots and increase the HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Other studies have shown that moderate drinking may also lower the risk of heart disease.
But wait, there’s more: a study by Swedish researchers last year revealed that eating chocolate is linked to lower risk of stroke, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of heart disease. And get this—the more chocolate the women ate, the more their stroke risk dropped (for every 1.8 oz. more chocolate they ate per week, their stroke risk dropped 14 percent).
I think that’s about as much hard-to-believe news as we can fit in one post—keep drinking wine and eating chocolate and you will live longer. And I’m thinking you will also be a lot happier. And your will be husband happy, too. (Not too much chocolate, though, okay?) So you have to pardon me: I’m off to the liquor store. I got a wife whose glass I need to keep filled.
1. Get Heart Smart: Show Your Support For African American Women’s Heart Health
2. MBB Fresh: Mobilizing Moms In Support Of Women’s Health & Economic Rights (HERrights)
3. Smart Heart Health: Black Women CAN Save Themselves From Needless Tragedy