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Can drinking alcohol help your brain function?

Monday, August 23, 2010 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: alcohol, brain function, health news

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(NaturalNews) A recent Norwegian study has found a possible link between moderate wine consumption and better brain function. Researchers evaluated a pool of more than 5,000 people over the course of seven years and found that women who drink wine at least four times during a two-week period perform better on cognitive tests than women who drink wine less than once during the same period.

The observation is not concrete proof that wine actually helps improve brain function, noted researchers, but the link is an interesting one that raises some important questions about the potential value in moderate alcohol consumption.

"A positive effect of wine...could also be due to cofounders such as socio-economic status and more favorable dietary and other lifestyle habits," explained study authors, suggesting that perhaps wine consumption is just a marker that points to overall lifestyle differences between those who drink moderately and those who do not.

However, most of the 68 studies conducted over the past decade that relate to alcohol's potential health benefits show some relationship between light-to-moderate alcohol consumption and a reduced risk of brain abnormalities like dementia and Alzheimer's disease. So the hypothesis is worthy of further investigation.

Other studies have found that red wine is rich in powerful antioxidants as well.

"[W]ine...is an excellent source of polyphenols (the same class of nutrients to which green tea's active ingredients belong)," explain Lester A. Mitscher and Victoria Toews in their book The Green Tea Book. "

If you choose to drink wine, organic, sulfite-free wine is your best option. Some people have difficulty processing sulfite preservatives, which can be harmful to health when excessively consumed.

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